I have been toying with the idea of a date and nut cake for a while now. and i frequently get requests from friends for baked goodie recipes that also cater to the vegetarian way of life. Since this blog is all about experimenting, helping out, making new friends and promoting a healthier lifestyle by (very, very) slowly but surely cutting down on the sugar and even gluten (but in no way compromising on the taste, if that is possible), this loaf is something towards that purpose.
and then, Poof!!! that was reality hitting me with a heavy thud: i have a jar of beautiful homemade caramel sauce sitting on my counter top. and the little voice in my head was going something like this: how brilliant would it be drizzled over the precious loaf and toasted hazelnuts?! i know!!
Yep, you guessed right, i succumbed.
P.S: If you are made of stronger stuff than me, by all means leave out the caramel sauce. The loaf really does not need it. The cake by itself is so moist you wouldn't believe the slippery fingers of butter or eggs were not involved. It is so easy, you would want to keep baking versions of it (walnuts? almonds?) It is so healthy, you wouldn't mind tucking in a few extra slices. The caramel sauce only enhances the taste for a sucker for caramel, me.
Recipe adapted with changes from here
-2 cups AP Flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 cup pitted dates
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup regular white sugar
-3/4 cup light brown sugar
-2 cups water
-1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts (halved) for garnishing the loaf - Optional
-1/4 cup caramel sauce for drizzling over the loaf - Optional
-Preheat oven to 175 C.
-Mix together the water, oil, salt, dates, cinnamon and sugars in a saucepan. Let it come to a boil, and then switch off the flame and let it rest for 20 minutes or till it cools.
-Sift together the flour and baking soda and mix it into the cooled mix by quarters. Stir to make sure there are no lumps. Pour into the baking pan, scatter the hazelnuts over the top if using them.
-Bake for 30 minutes or till done. Let it cool before slicing up.
On another note, we will be celebrating the festival of Onam this week, and as is customary, i will be making another traditional payasam to celebrate and to beat the blues of not being at home with folks during this week. Stay tuned!