My sister, Sandra, sent me a text after my last post with mum’s recipe for date and nut loaf. It was a little cryptic in part. It included ‘a few spices’ which I interpreted as something one conjures up when faced with ‘mixed spice’ in a recipe and you don’t have ‘mixed spice’.
I didn’t know how much mixed spice to go with so I checked out Ian Hemphill’s Spice Notes. He advises: To impart a delicious sweet spice flavour to cakes, biscuits and pastries, add 2 tsp of mixed spice per cup of flour to the dry ingredients. As I don’t remember any distinct spiciness, I decided to go with 2 teaspoons all up.
I don’t know how old the recipe is or where it came from. My guess is that it is an old Australian Women’s Weekly recipe as I found a very similar recipe by the New Zealand Women’s Weekly on-line. I am sure there would have been a lot of recipe swapping going on.
My sister wasn’t sure whether brown or white sugar was called for. All the recipes I have seen use brown sugar so I went with brown. Also, I remember mum’s loaf being quite dark which I am sure would have come, in part, from the brown sugar. My loaf certainly looks like my mum’s did.
I followed the New Zealand baking instructions and baked this one at 160°C and it was cooked to perfection so I intend to amend my last post. I am confident 160°C is the way to go.
This loaf rose spectacularly. It reached the top of the tins. Both recipes use 2 cups of SR flour so this recipe takes the cake in this regard.
Both date and nut loaves taste great. I like this one because it brings back fond memories. Maus is batting for the other side on this issue.
- 1½ cup dates, chopped
- 1 cup hot black tea
- 1 tsp bi-carb soda
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbs* butter, melted
- 2 cups SR flour
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
*These are 20 mil tablespoons.
- Place the chopped dates in a bowl, sprinkle with the bi-carb soda and then pour the black tea over the dates. Set aside for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 160°C.
- Stir brown sugar, egg and butter into the cooled date mixture.
- Sift mixed spice and flour together.
- Fold in the flour and walnuts until just combined.
- Spoon mixture into two loaf tins lined with baking paper.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.
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Nice update although I’m not sure what mixed spice is? Would it also be called allspice?
Hi Diane. It is a sweet spice blend. According to Wikipedia, it is similar to your pumpkin pie mix. All spice is pimento which is altogether different.
Got it…I think I know exactly the flavor we’re going for here, thanks Glenda.
Interesting method of baking – reminds me of the old American traditional Boston brown bread baked in a cleaned out coffee tin. Although, Boston brown bread isn’t quite the same, less sweet and uses molasses rather than brown sugar. I like the sound of this date and nut loaf. I’m sure it was very tasty.
Hi Debi, I bet that is where the tradition started ie when women couldn’t afford real cake tins they used coffee tins … and then some entrepreneur started making a cake tin to mirror the coffee tins 🙂
And now most (decent) coffee does not come in a can! I guess you’re right. 😄
I have very clear memories of this cake when I was a kid that Mum used to make. I’m not sure if its the same recipe, but I remember the shape, texture and having butter smeared on it for a delicious afternoon tea on a cold winters day 🙂
Hi Leah, The recipes are different but the memories are the same. Decadence with butter!!
It’s been ages since I baked a date loaf, Glenda, but how I remember the aroma in my kitchen! It’s perfect for a wintry day and I’m sure your kitchen smelled wonderful.
Hi John welcome back. The kitchen sure did smell swell.
I don’t need psychic abilities to predict I will soon become the owner of a sealed loaf tin – I’m sure they taste better if they have the right look 🙂
Ella, you will need two. All the recipes make two rolls.
I’ll remember that. The G.O.’s work mates will be pleased 🙂
Wonderful! I have this on my list of to-dos!
Great, send me a photo Liz.
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