That’s the boast of Dan Lepard, who puts his name to this recipe. I came across it when rain stopped play, so to speak. On a book forum I have the habit of frequenting one contributor mentioned a cake, in much the same way the cricket commentary on the radio comes into it’s own when there is no play on the field. I begged a link to the recipe. And the beauty is it also happens to be the easiest cake to make, ever.
Here’s what you need:
200g chopped dates; 50g tamarind paste; 250g unsalted butter; 150g dark brown sugar; 2 large eggs; 275g plain flour; 2 tsp soda bicarb; 175g shelled walnuts, roughly chopped; 150g icing sugar; seeds of 6-8 cardamom pods, finely ground; juice of half lemon.
Knowing I was pretty much covered for all the necessary it seemed a fine wee project whilst the week’s bread was rising; the soup cauldron burbling. The only change was the need to replace walnuts with pecans. Fortunately the regular supply of soft and succulent medjool dates had remained unopened for a day or two. Cardamom in the icing is a master stroke. As with most things at Grasshopper Towers the icing sugar is unrefined.
And here’s how to go about it:
Line the base and sides of a deep, 18cm cake tin; heat oven to 180C/gas 4. Put the dates, tamarind paste and 300ml water in a pan and bring to boil. Boil for a minute, remove from heat, add the butter, and set aside for 10 mins to cool as the butter melts. How easy is that? None of your creaming together, endless beating and folding in the flour malarkey. Add the brown sugar, stir, then stir in the eggs until smooth. Whisk in the flour and bicarb, then stir in the nuts. All in one pot, with one spoon. No mess, well not much.
Spoon the batter into the cake tin and bake for about an hour, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Remove and leave to cool. When cold, make a thick, smooth icing with the icing sugar, cardamom and lemon juice, a little water if needed, and spoon over the cake till it dribbles. A few scattered rose petals finishes it off.
And the verdict? Thumbs up from Girl Urchin, who hadn’t seen the dates going in. Too many nuts for little brother though, perhaps blitzing rather than chopping may be better. Sticky, gooey, and quite delicious. Must go and see how the reading’s going.