I couldn't bear to repeat myself by asking where does time go to but it's scary to find out that my last post was back in May. Well, as John Lennon said "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans." or something very similar. Since my last post I've been offered a new job and am in the process of taking it up so on my previous performance I'd say that the next post after this will be at Christmas!
Anyway, how do I do justice to this unpreposessing slice of cake? It may not look much but it is so yummy that I could have another slice before I finish telling you about it. Looking through my books this morning I came across this Sticky Date Cake in Delia's Cookery course. Having nearly all the ingredients I thought I'd have a go and I'm so glad that I did. This is one wonderful cake. The recipe is below and then I'll tell you the bits I changed!
Sticky Date Cake
• 225g (8oz) stoned dates, roughly chopped
• 110g (4oz) raisins
• 175g (6oz) sultanas
• 110g (4oz) currants
• 275g (10oz) butter
• 275ml (10 fl oz) water
• 1 x 400g (14oz) tin condensed milk
• 150g (5oz) plain flour
• 150g (5oz) wholemeal flour
• 3/4 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
• 1 generous tablespoon chunky marmalade
• A pinch of salt
• You will also need a 20cm (8in) square cake tin, greased and lined with baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 170C, 325F, gas mark 3.
• Begin by placing all the fruit in a largish saucepan (it needs to be large, because the mixture splutters a lot), then add the butter, condensed milk and water and bring everything up to the boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent the mixture sticking. Now turn the heat down to low and simmer for exactly 3 minutes, stirring now and then. After 3 minutes, transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and let it cool down for approximately 30 minutes. While it's cooling, weigh out the flours and sift them into a bowl with a pinch of salt and the bicarbonate of soda. When sieving wholemeal flour you frequently find small quantities of bran left in the sieve: these can be tipped on to the already-sieved flour.
• When the fruit mixture has cooled, stir in the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda using a large metal spoon, then add the marmalade. Now spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and, because this cake does get rather brown on top if not protected, you should cover it with a double square greaseproof paper with a hole the size of a 50p piece in the centre. Then pop it on to the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 2-21/2hours.
• After removing the cake from the oven, let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack. This is quite a large cake that will keep well for several weeks in an airtight tin and even improves with keeping. If you prefer, you could make this in two 450g (1 lb) loaf tins and halve the cooking time.
It really is so simple and the things that I did differently were to replace the chunky marmalade with ginger marmalade and use mixed fruit instead of weighing out all the others.