Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Orange & Date Dessert Cake

Winter time is the time for slow cooked meals, meat melting in your mouth, soups and crusty bread, deliciously warm and sweet desserts slathered in warm custard finished off with a warming pot of tea.

That's winter in a nut shell for me.... food wise anyway! It's also the season for pumpkins and citrus fruits which may sound like a strange combination but go together beautifully in this cake I created this past week.

The pumpkin isn't the real star in this cake... it's the orange. The pumpkin is just needed for it's "moistness" and "colour" properties and is forgotten otherwise (Don't tell the pumpkin that)... BUT it's still important all the same.
Back to our dear friend orange - yes the orange is the STAR attraction in this delicious dessert cake! It cuts through the sweetness of the dates with it's acidity and the zestiness compliments the spices nicely.

How I come up with this recipe was due to my constant need to "healthify" things lately. You see our family is on a sort of a "health" type kick - trying to cook and bake things that will be better for us (and our waist lines) There are members who are trying to lose weight and I didn't want to thwart there hard work with a calorie laden dessert.

The original recipe for this dessert called for something like 2 cups of sugar and 250g of butter and that was just in the cake... there was a sweet sauce poured over it as well which included cream and sugar! To "healthifiy" it I swapped the sugar for honey and dates, the butter for pureed pumpkin and used wholemeal and spelt flour over white flour to improve the GI rating. Now I am not against baking the aforementioned dessert with it's sugar and butter because it probably tastes absolutely devine it just didn't suit what I needed to make at the time!

Orange & Date Dessert Cake


2 Cups Wholemeal Self Raising Flour
½ Cup Wholemeal Spelt Flour
1 Tsp Bicarb Soda
½ Tsp Mixed Spice
1/8 Tsp Nutmeg
½ Cup Walnuts
2 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds, For topping


½ Cup Honey, Warmed
½ Cup Fresh Dates, Chopped Finely
¾ Cup Pureed Pumpkin
Juice of 2 Oranges
Zest of 2 Oranges
½ Cup Milk
2 x Eggs, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp Apricot Jam, (or Marmalade)


1.    Preheat oven to 160 degrees and line a 20cm cake pan with baking paper.
2.    In a bowl sift flours, Bicarb soda, spices, walnuts and zest, set aside.
3.    In a saucepan add chopped dates and orange juice to the pan and simmer for 5 min until reduced and dates are soft and mushy. Add pumpkin puree, milk and eggs and combine.
4.    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix to combine thoroughly.
5.    Place mixture into prepared cake tin and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, cook for 35-45 min until golden brown.
6.    Cool cake for 15-20 min, warm apricot jam in microwave for 10-15 sec until runny. Using a pastry brush, brush mixture over the top of the cake.

Serve with warm homemade or bought custard!

Simply Tea Recommendation:

If your wanting to pair this cake with a good cup of tea for a simply delicious afternoon tea I would recommend serving our Ceylon Orange Pekoe:

The leaves are long, wirey, and beautiful  giving an exquisite taste, almost oaky, with body and strength. 

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You may think by it's name that it has and "orange" flavour but they use this term Oraange Pekoe to describe a basic, medium-grade black tea consisting of many whole tea leaves of a specific size. This tea is a "good" black tea, simple in flavour yet robust and tasteful!

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