… whilst i’m enjoying the Spanish sun I thought i’d share this sweet little recipe for banana, apricot and date loaf. As i’ve mentioned previously I’m attempting to eat a little less sugar and fat whilst also trying to expand my baking skills at the same time… and with mixed results! I’ve been asked to take part in a very exciting new baking project for the lovely people at Leisure but the activity doesn’t start until later in the summer (don’t worry – I will share all in due course…) so i’m also taking advantage of a little time to hone my sugar-free baking and devise a few recipes that i’m proud of creating too. I quite enjoy the experimenting (so if you’ve any recipes you’d like to share – please do) and i’ve discovered that now i’ve reduced my sugar intake, when I do actually eat sugar I need much less… or I find that if I really want sugar in my tea or coffee, i’m reaching for the honey rather than the pot of little white granules. Even whilst here on holiday in Mallorca i’ve found that my once-favourite local artisan ice-cream is very sweet… although to be utterly honest, it hasn’t stopped me experimenting with different flavours just to make sure. You know how it is. I sacrifice myself for thee…
banana, apricot and date loaf – sugar-free, fat-free, and gluten-free
this is the third sugar-free cake in my sugar-free baking exploration and I think that this has to be my favourite. I will admit that it doesn’t look so pretty but it tastes absolutely delicious. Now I say sugar-free but lets face it, with the amount of dates and apricots it’s hardly a sugarless treat and whilst the non-refined sugars from fruits and syrups are better for you than the refined stuff they’re still sugar and therefore full of calories so it really depends on your tolerances here… on the other hand there is no oil or fat, no dairy and no gluten so it is quite frankly a miracle that this cake is standing up at all… but standing up it is and it’s an absolute belter. I chopped it into thick slices and ate each slice over a week for a mid-morning snack – much like an energy bar and it kept really well. I adapted the recipe from Suelle’s Mainly Baking blog which originally has rum in the mix too and I can imagine that this would make it even more sublime – and probably the perfect cake for Christmas – but seeing that i’m also supposed to be trying 5 days each week without alcohol I thought I ought to leave this out too… so it’s a pretty saintly cake, if you ignore the above…
250g stoned dates
1 large banana – roughly 140g and very ripe
200g apricots – roughly chopped
100g polenta (or 50g polenta and 50g ground almonds)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons baking powder (use gluten-free)
3 tbsp dark rum – optional
2 egg whites
a few mixed nuts for the topping
honey for glazing
pre-heat the oven to 180C/fan and line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper, using a little oil to make it stick.
put the dates into a small pan with 200ml boiling water and simmer for 5 mins. Drain the liquid into a jug, then put the dates into a large bowl along with the bananas and 100ml of the date liquid and whizz until smooth with a handheld blitzer.
mix the nuts, dried fruit, polenta, spice and baking powder in a bowl, then add the date purée and rum, and stir until combined. Then whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into the cake mix.
pour into the tin (it will be quite full), then top with the remaining whole pecans and a sprinkling of mixed nuts. Bake for just under one hour until golden and crusty and a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into slices.
eat and of course, enjoy!