Always read the recipe before starting, always read the recipe. That’s an instruction that’s been drummed into me for years, whether in Home Ec class, while studying in Ballymaloe, or just from experience on many occasions of getting half-way through baking something only to discover that an essential item was missing.
Now, it seems, I read the ingredient list – but forget to look at the method. When I looked at this recipe (originally for a Date and Peach Slice) I figured that I’d just use apricots instead of peaches but I neglected to notice the direction to prepare a 9 inch square tin. Do I have a 9 inch square tin? Not at all. That’s why this week’s slice ended up turning into a cake (I did have an 8 inch round tin) which, try as you may, is rather difficult to cut into enough evenly shaped pieces for morning coffee to get you through the week!
That said, it was a fantastically moist and well-flavoured cake, flecked with a mixture of reconstituted and dried fruit and well worth the trouble. Next time, I think I’ll try to double the mixture to fit in my swiss-roll tin. The score from the Polish Colleague? 7/10 this time.
Apricot Date Cake
Dried apricots – 200g, roughly chopped
Butter – 125g, melted
Self-raising flour – 125g
Plain flour – 125g
Light Muscovado sugar – 200g
Ground cinnamon – 1½ teaspoons
Shredded coconut – 45g
Dates – 125g, roughly chopped
Put the apricots into a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak for 30 minutes.
Butter a 22cm (8 inch) round spring form tin and preheat the oven to 180˚C. Drain the apricots and reserve 125ml of the soaking liquid.
Mix the apricots, reserved liquid and butter in a medium bowl. Put the flours, sugar, cinnamon, coconut and dates in a large bowl, pour over the liquid ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Do not over mix.
Scrape into the prepared tin, smoothing the surface, and cook for 35-40 minutes until set, golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and cooling on a wire rack. Makes 1 x 22cm cake.