Date and almond cakes with orange syrup

16 Apr

date, almond and orange cakesIf I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life it would be cheese, without a doubt. I have my favourites, but I don’t think there is a cheese I have tried that I didn’t find totally moreish and delicious. The second item in that list is an easy pick too – dessert. A broad category I know, but the same applies: I can’t think of a single dessert that didn’t happily devour. (I’m really thinking hard right now, and…nope, nothing is coming to me).

Because of this deep love for the sweet things in life I hardly ever make dessert because really, there is no way I can resist once it’s in the house. But having friends over is a good excuse for me to make a sweet treat. It’s not only the eating that I love, but also the making of said dessert – the science and the precision of it. It doesn’t have to be a complicated recipe though – sometimes the simple ones are the best.

This weekend we had one of our buddies over and I cooked this fabulous little recipe from Donna Hay’s Instant Entertaining: date and almond cakes with orange syrup. They are a breeze to throw together, and the dates are lovely with the zesty orange syrup. Blood oranges are just at the end of their season here and they are so pretty, though mine yielded only 1/8 cup juice each! My muffin pan is smaller than that called for in the recipe, so the mixture made 8 smaller cakes which were beautifully browned and cooked through in 20mins.


For the date and almond cakes:

½ cup plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

¾ cup almond meal

½ cup caster sugar

½ cup pitted dates, roughly chopped

75g (1/3 cup) butter, melted

2 tbsp milk

1 egg

For the orange syrup:

½ cup caster sugar, extra

½ cup orange juice (this required 4 blood oranges, but may only require 2 navels)

2 tbsp finely grated orange rind


For the cakes:

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Grease a muffin tray as required: for a 1 cup capacity muffin tray grease 4, for a ½ cup capacity muffin tray grease 8.

Place the flour, baking powder, almond meal, sugar and dates in a large bowl and mix lightly.

In a separate bowl mix the butter, milk and egg, whisking a little with a fork or whisk to combine.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.

Spoon the mixture evenly between greased muffin cups.

Bake for 20mins (½ cup capacity) or 25mins (1 cup capacity) or until browned a little on top and cooked when tested with a skewer.

For the syrup:

While the cakes cook place the sugar, juice and zest in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and simmer for 5-7mins or until slightly thickened.

Serve cakes with a spoonful of zesty syrup drizzled on top and cream or ice-cream on the side.


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