Sunday, April 8, 2012

Date Spice Cake with Bourbon Glaze

Happy Easter from the southern hemisphere! We are enjoying our luxurious four-day weekend here in Sydney, a much-needed, relaxing break. I've been scoping out deviled egg recipes for days, and it paid off as we feasted on a brunch of three types of deviled eggs, hot cross buns, toast and jam, a big fruit salad, and some chocolate for good measure. I should have made hot cross buns from scratch, but just couldn't summon enough effort during vacation to deal with yeast, rising times, kneading, etc.  Instead we got storebought ones from the local bakery which, after asking them about the ingredients, we discovered contained preservatives : (  one of a few allergies we have to be careful about in the house.  So our houseguest and I went ahead and ate the bakery buns, but I made a special hot cross bun-inspired cake that the hubs could also enjoy.  It's adapted from the lovely one here at Whole Family Fare.

Southern Spoon Blog: Date Spice Cake with Bourbon Glaze
date cake spiced with cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg, topped with a bourbon glaze
I was low on cinnamon, so below is double the amount I actually used, but to capture the Aussie hot cross bun taste you'll need it.  I used a mixture of spelt, quinoa, potato flour, and all-purpose organic flour.  Since we'd already indulged on so many deviled eggs, this bundt cake uses a mixture of ground flaxseed and water rather than eggs to help the mixture bind together. Dates and a drizzle of honey through the middle of the batter make wholesome sweeteners, which are enhanced by a sinful glaze of bourbon and powdered sugar : )  I made the cake last night and let it sit overnight at room temperature so the glaze could seep in. We ate it for 'tea' today around 4pm, and it was delicious.  You could taste a touch of bourbon in every bite, and it was perfectly moist and tender. The batter will look and feel airy when you spoon it into the pan, and it bakes up nice and light.

I threw in a plum because I needed to use it up, but a small apple would also work well.  Hot cross buns typically have raisins dotted through them, but I found that chunks of dates remained even after I 'pureed' them in the blender, so I didn't add any additional dried fruit.  Feel free to add a half cup of raisins or currants if you'd like, or replace the lemon zest and juice with orange.  I've used yogurt in this recipe, but if you're going for dairy-free, just sub that with the same amount of (unsweetened) applesauce. If you skip the bourbon in the glaze, replace most of it with water, but add a teaspoon of vanilla for flavor.

This cake is perfect on its own, but would also be tasty with a dollop of plain greek yogurt, sweetened whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream. Bake and enjoy!

Date Spice Cake with Bourbon Glaze
adapted from Whole Family Fare
makes 1 bundt cake

6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 1/2 cups flour (I used about 1/2 cup plain, all-purpose flour; 1/2 cup spelt flour; 1/4 cup quinoa flour; 1 tablespoon potato flour; and 1 tablespoon almond meal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used about 1/3 cup rice bran oil and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil)
2 cups dates, soaked in warm water for 10-20 minutes, then drained, retaining 1/2 cup of the water
1 large plum or 1 small apple, finely chopped
1/4 cup plain, low-fat greek yogurt (or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for a dairy-free recipe)
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice (from about half a lemon)
1/4 cup honey, divided
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons bourbon (or replace this amount with water plus one teaspoon vanilla extract)
1-2 teaspoons water

Grease and flour a bundt pan, and preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the 6 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds.  Set this aside for at least 10 minutes to firm up into an egg-like consistency while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the flour(s), baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, pour the vegetable oil, the reserved 1/2 cup of date water, dates, chopped plum (or apple), yogurt, lemon zest and juice, and 1 tablespoon of the honey.  Blend together until fairly smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides when necessary.  (If you're doing this in a blender rather than a food processor, you might find it easier to first blend just half of the dates with all of the other ingredients, then add the other half to the blended mixture and blend until smooth).  Stir in the flaxseed and water mixture.

Fold the date mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring just until incorporated.  Drop about half of the batter in spoonfuls into the bottom of the bundt pan. Drizzle the remaining honey over this mixture, then top with the remaining batter.  

Bake at 350F/175C for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.  Let the cake cool for at least another 15 minutes before glazing.  For the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar and bourbon in a small bowl until you have a thick syrup-like consistency, adding a teaspoon or two of water if necessary.  Drizzle the glaze with a spoon over the mostly-cooled cake.  Store at room temperature for up to three days.  

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