It's been like a month. My absence wasn't due to laziness; I was brewing something good up for you.
Was that an appropriate use of a semi colon? Someone help?
I think the most confusing part of grammatical rules are the names they decide to give the parties involved in the syntax. I would give you an example but I can't for the life of me think of any. Where is my wordsmith when I need him? It takes me two sentences into an explanation to get lost, after which I just nod and punctuate his sentences with a lot of 'hmm mms' and 'ah yes of course's.
In all honesty I was feeling a little lacklustre. I had nothing sassy to write you. It was all really hum drum. It wasn't until people asked me what I got up to this weekend and I said I got into a heated debate with my boyfriend (aka the wordsmith) and his parents over the morality of overworking white collar workers, use of annual leave and breaking the cycle of work related mental illness did I remember that actually I do have opinions and I am not afraid to share them. Even though I was livid (and literally bright beetroot red up to my eyes and physically shaking) I was relieved to be so passionate about a topic again. I thought I had lost that spark and it scared me. Sure I might not have some flash law degree but I know that I know right from wrong and it doesn't take five years at uni to teach me that.
I was so fired up I didn't even want to each another slice of this lush date cake I had made.
Funny story re this date cake though. I doubled the recipe because the first time I made it yonks ago I found it to be quite flat. This time however it would seem I made a far more voluminous double mixture. The batter rose and rose leaving a dome above the lip of the tin and no room for baking on the coconut topping. I was terrified it would spill over. The cake was taking forever to bake. Like FOREVER. I was running out of time - it was almost time for me to pick up the wordsmith from the airport. As soon as the skewer came out with a cleanness that I felt was acceptable given the circumstances I sprung into MacGyver mode. With the largest serrated knife I could find I lopped off the dome. Using a large strip of tin foil, folded into third lengthways and drowned in non-stick spray I crafted a cake tin extension. I packed the coconut topping into the extension, whacked the cake in to finish off for another fifteen minutes and whipped it out again with just three minutes to spare before my required ETD.
I seriously don't get paid enough for my day job. Never underestimate a woman who has a Leatherman multitool in her gym bag at all times. She can do anything.
I recommend using a 22 or 23cm cake tin for this. 20cm really was just pushing it a little bit. If you only have a 20, halve the batter recipe and just make a shorter cake. The cake also took forever in the 20cm tin. I think we were pushing 75 minutes. When you use the larger tin the bake time will reduce - I am just not to sure what down to. It is hard to say as every oven is different but I would say start with 40 mins then add in 10 to 15 minute lots until a skewer comes out still slightly covered in batter (it will be finished off when you pop the coconut on).
Spicy Date Cake with Coconut Topping
Very loosely adapted from Julie Le Clerc's Favourite Cakes
Makes 1x23cm cake
400g dried dates
2 cups hot water
2 teaspoons baking soda
150g butter, softened
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups threaded coconut
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake and line and grease your cake tin.
Place the dates, hot water and baking soda in a saucepan and bring to a simmer for five minutes before removing from the heat and leaving to cool.
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between each addition so that the mixture becomes voluminous.
Sieve in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Mash the cool date mix slightly then stir it into the batter until just combined.
Transfer the batter to your cake tin, whack it in the oven and bake for a very uncertain amount of time. After 40 minutes check how it is going. If it is browning too much and still very liquidy on the inside place a sheet of tinfoil over the top and return to the oven. Check every ten minutes until a skewer comes out with only a smudge of cake batter left on it. This is when you want to put the coconut topping on. (I estimate between 50 and 60 minutes)
To make the coconut topping, melt together the butter, brown sugar and cream together in a saucepan and simmer for two minutes. Stir through the coconut. Spread this over the cake and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin before slicing and serving with a good dollop of whipped cream.