Armenian spice cake (Heather’s cake)

Driven by dates or data?

Well, as a responsible organisation we’re sensibly going with the data to decide when we get together again in real life.

If anything is going to make it worth considering dates instead it’s this delicious Armenian Spiced cake made by a lady called Heather.

Heather may not have originated the recipe but the results were duly wolfed down anyway.

Have a go and let us know what you think. It’s got dates in it…..

Prep 10 min
Soak Up to 24 hr
Cook 1 hr 40 min
Serves 8

16 dates, pitted
200ml hot coffee
180g muscovado sugar
200g caster sugar
140g plain flour
140g self-raising flour
120g unsalted butter
, cold and diced
330ml full-fat milk
1 whole egg, plus 1 yolk
, whisked together
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
50g walnuts
, toasted

Heat the oven to 160C (140C fan)/325F/gas 3. Soak the dates in the coffee and leave for at least an hour – if you can do this 24 hours in advance, the dates will really take on the flavour of the coffee.

Line a 23cm square cake tin. Drain the dates in a colander and set aside.

Put the sugars, flours and butter in a bowl and rub with your fingertips to form fine breadcrumbs. Take 250g of this mix and press lightly into the base of the tin.

To the rest of the crumbs, add the milk, whisked egg, bicarb, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix until smooth.

Arrange the dates over the crumb layer in four rows of four. Pour the batter mix over the top and scatter with the walnuts.

Bake for an hour, then test with a skewer: you want the mixture to cling to the skewer in a fudgey rather than a runny way. Leave to cool for 15 minutes and serve with a generous blob of creme fraiche.

This cake is also delicious served cooled – and even better with a strong coffee.