Blog, Recipes

Date and Rooibos Loaf

This divine loaf cake is from the book ‘A new way to cake’ by Benjamina Ebuehi

How can anyone resist a loaf cake that has our beloved Rooibos in it! I can see for myself that there are lovers and haters where dates are concerned. Normally I wouldn’t try and speak to individual taste preferences but allow me some latitude here…..please.
My theory is that some date loaf loathers are slightly put off by the somewhat soda-ish taste that comes from the pairing of dates and bicarbonate of soda. It can be a little strange to the palate but the date lovers often focus on the sweetly, earthy and spicy softness of a simple date loaf. And might I say, a good date loaf is high up on the list of great tea cakes.

Now speaking directly to the date haters, the scented Rooibos balances out that date-bicarb taste and leaves one with a lightly scented date cake that is absolutely delicious.
Did I mention how simple it is to make this cake? This is a mixing cake meaning a whisk and spatula is all you need. The ingredients are few and often sitting in most kitchen cupboards anyway.

If you can get some Medjool dates for these, please do as they add a lovely caramel flavour to the loaf but any date works here.

Ingredients for Loaf

  • 240 ml (slightly under a cup) of boiling water
  • 2 rooibos teabags
  • 140 g chopped pitted dates
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 75 g butter
  • 225 g cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 125 g light muscovado or soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

How to make the loaf

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • Light grease a small loaf pan (11.5cm x 22cm) and line the base with baking paper.
  • Add the Rooibos tea bags to a medium mixing bowl and pour over the boiling water. Let it steep for 5 minutes.
Steep rooibos tea bags for 5 minutes
  • Remove the tea bags and add the chopped dates.
chopped dates soaking in the hot Rooibos
  • Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and the butter until fully melted. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes in order to soak the dates.
Let the butter melt into the hot date mixture
Fully melted date butter mixture

  • In another medium mixing bowl, measure out the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Lightly whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Once the dates have softened, add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
  • Whisk in the flour mixture until the mixture is well combined and lump-free.

  • Pour mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula so that the mixture is evenly distributed.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until the loaf is well risen, coming away from the sides of the pan, and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning over onto a wire rack to completely cool.

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