This week has been a rather relaxing one in the world of the Hungry Hinny – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off work with nothing planned except baking and Christmas preparation. Lovely!
On Tuesday, I baked a chocolate, date and pistachio cake, ready to take to a meeting of Cornwall’s Clandestine Cake Club.
Cake club is always great fun, but this month was especially good as it was held at the Origin Coffee roastery in Helston, where we were able to see the beans go through the roasting process and chat to staff to find out everything you could ever need to know about coffee.
As a confirmed coffee addict this was super exciting, and I think the most interesting thing I found out was that the quality of coffee starts to deteriorate a mere 2 minutes after being ground – so you really do need to grind it cup by cup as you want to drink it!
Back to the cakes, and the theme was Arabian Nights. There were 9 cakes in total I think, with a lot of dates but also including turkish delight, lemon, chocolate, carrot, coffee and pistachio – here are just a few…
After an initial oh-my-god-what-am-I going-to-make panic when I found out the theme, I realised I had already a chocolate and date cake which could be updated to fit the theme.
I added pistachios and extra dates, baked in a smaller tin for a higher cake, and made more ganache to completely cover it. I finished it with edible gold balls in what I hope was a vaguely Arabian-inspired design which I thought turned out pretty well.
It seemed to go down well with the other CCC-ers and there was only a small slice left to take home (although hungry coffee boys may have had something to do with that).
It’s a very dark, dense and moist cake, which I think is definitely improved by the occasional crunch of pistachio and is even better with a dollop of clotted cream on the side, accompanied by a (freshly ground) coffee.
Thanks to Origin for hosting us and to the lovely Ellie for organising another fab event!
Chocolate date cake (originally adapted from Under the High Chair)
- 350g pitted and chopped dates
- 300ml strong hot black coffee
- 165g butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 50g light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 120g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 40g cocoa powder
- 50g shelled pistachios, chopped
For the icing
- 100g dark chocolate
- 100g milk chocolate
- 200ml creme fraiche
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
Start by pouring the hot coffee over the chopped dates and leave to soak while you do everything else. Cream the butter and two sugars together until light and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and fold until just combined.
Transfer the date/coffee mixture into a food processor and blitz until it turns into a puree. Add to the cake mix along with the chopped pistachios and stir until completely combined. Pour the mixture into a greased and lined 8″ round tin, and bake at 175 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out nearly clean. If it’s browning too much cover with foil until it’s cooked through. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.
For the icing, chop both chocolates and mix together in a bowl, then heat the creme fraiche and brown sugar in a saucepan until almost boiling. Pour over the chocolate and stir until all the chocolate has melted and you have a nice smooth ganache. Leave to cool to a spreadable consistency then completely cover the cake. Decorate however you fancy!