… this week has been stupidly busy and it’s only Wednesday. As you can imagine the run up to the festive period is one of our busiest at The Persuaders but it always astounds me how everyone seems to want all their events on the same day… well I guess there are only so many days until everyone disappears for Christmas and there’s lots to do… it’s a lot of early mornings and late nights. Last night I found myself leaving town in a cab very late and I was busy scrolling through emails on my iPhone and it wasn’t until we stopped at roadworks and I looked up into the street that I realised Christmas had well and truly arrived in town. As you know, I have a love/hate relationship with London but one of the times that I think it looks its best is when it’s dressed for Christmas. I’m not a fan of the big corporate lights on Oxford Street and Regent Street but there are so many smaller shopping streets and arcades that really put on the most incredible displays. Some little streets such as Carnaby Street and St Christopher’s Place always put a very creative and contemporary spin on their lights whilst posher streets like Old Bond Street and Saville Row look like something out of a Victorian fairytale… and then of course there’s the shop windows… but I think potentially that may be a whole other post…
gluten-free apple and date cake
I made this apple and date cake a few months back when my sister Matti was staying with me and I was playing around with gluten free recipes… I wasn’t so sure about this cake even though it went down really well. I guess you could call it robust. It’s packed with flavour and has all the ingredients but for me it lacked a certain something naughty… i’ve never really been one for virtuous cakes, I can’t really see the point and quite frankly if someone describes your food as ‘interesting’ then I think we all know what they mean…
… the edges of the cake look very dark but I would say it came out of the oven a dark golden brown rather than the black in the photograph…
225 g butter , room temperature, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
450 g bramley apples, roughly chopped
200 g medjool dates
100 g raisins
4 large free-range eggs, beaten
150 g gluten-free white bread flour, plus a teaspoon extra
100 g ground almonds
1 1/2 tbsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
a good grating of nutmeg
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp demerara sugar
preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Grease the base of a round 23cm cake tin and line with greaseproof paper. Place the apples in a food processor with the dates, butter and half the raisins and blitz until combined. Using a spatula, scrape into a bowl and mix in a third of the beaten eggs.
in a separate bowl combine the flour, almonds, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add a third to the apple mixture and combine, then continue adding and combining the egg and flour mixtures in alternating batches until all mixed together. Finish by folding through the remaining raisins then pour into the prepared cake tin.
combine the pine nuts, demerara sugar and extra teaspoon of gluten-free flour in a bowl and scatter over the cake mixture. Bake for 50–60 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
i’m linking this cake up to the brilliant AlphaBakes challenge which is celebrating the letter M and one of my star ingredients is medjool dates. AlphaBakes is co-hosted by Ros from More Than The Occasional Baker and Caroline from Caroline Makes