Food & Drink Magazine

English Breakfast Tea, Date & Walnut Cake

By Weavethousandflavors

English Breakfast Tea, Date & Walnut Cake

There are days I crave afternoon tea or traditional English cream tea like a fish craves water!

There is nothing quite like a table set out with a lovely white table cloth, accented with a vase of wild flowers for that splash of color, pots of jam & clotted cream, warm scones straight out of the oven, mini cucumber bread and butter sandwiches & of course a nice cake.

A cake not overly frosted but rather something between a cake and a bread, wonderful when sliced and devoured with a slathering of softened butter and washed down with cups of strong tea or rather coffee here in the US.

I am a fan of traditional cakes the kind that is rich and dense - nothing fluffly or fake about it but the type reminiscent of our grandma's kitchen. Intensely flavored and honest in its ingredients. And when it comes to honest ingredients, its difficult to beat a traditional date and walnut cake because the name says it all. Now to this add a strong brew of English tea & it not only fulfills but exceeds everything I love about a cake for Afternoon tea.

I know you'll agree when you take your first bite!

 

The night before - 

Prepare the dates and the strong brew of English tea.

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English Breakfast Tea - Brew the tea by bringing a sauce pan of water to boil.

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Add the English Breakfast tea leaves. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from heat.

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Dates - Halve and then finely chop. I find this easier to do with kitchen shears than with a knife and cutting board. Place in a bowl.

Sieve the tea into the bowl filled with dates. Press a spoon into the sieve to drain all the tea out of the leaves.

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Stir the dates in the tea. Allow the dates to soak in the tea overnight.The dates will adsorb all the tea and will swell up.

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The next morning, gather the rest of the ingredients for the cake -

All purpose flour, eggs, chopped walnuts, light brown sugar, unsalted butter, pure vanilla extract & baking powder.

Preheat the oven to 325 deg F

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour & baking powder. Stir with a spatula till thoroughly mixed.

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In a separate bowl, place the walnuts with 1 tbs of the flour mixture. Stir so the walnuts are thoroughly coated with the flour. This stops them from sinking & settling to the bottom of the cake pan. Don't ask me why, I just think its cool!

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Add the brown sugar & the vanilla extract. Stir with the spatula till thoroughly combined.

In a pyrex/microwave safe bowl or cup, microwave the butter till melted. Also, in  separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs

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Add the butter, dates, heavy cream & the beaten eggs.

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Stir the batter and keep folding so all the lumps are broken down. Add the walnuts and continue to fold till the batter is just combined. 

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Do not over work but make sure that the mixture is thoroughly blended through.

The batter will be quite sticky and will need to be spooned into the loaf pan instead of being poured.

 

 To line the 9" x 5" loaf pan - 

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The easiest way I know to line a loaf pan with parchment paper is to cut two lengths of paper each the width and length of the pan.

Overlap the parchment sheets so they are hanging off the edges from all sides. Spray the parchment sides and bottom with some non-stick baking spray.

Spoon the cake batter into the pan. Make sure that the cake batter fills the corner s of the pan with the spatula.

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Bake in the hot preheated oven for about 60-65 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean when the cake is pierced through its center.

Remove from the pan. Remove parchment and discard.

Cool on a baking rack till ready to serve.

 

  Cut into slices & serve.

 

English Breakfast Tea, Date & Walnut Cake

The cake is moist and full of rich flavor - almost like a fruit cake but not too sweet. Absolutely delightful spread with softened butter.

English Breakfast Tea, Date & Walnut Cake

The tea soaked dates lend a wonderful complex flavor throughout the cake. The walnuts add the nice occasional crunch but also add the depth one looks for in a coffee or tea cake.

The texture was moist but firm. Excellent with both strong tea and strong coffee. I froze half the leftover loaf wrapped in freezer Ziploc bags for the next few days and the cake continued to delight.

I hope you'll give this a go!

 

Recipe for

English Breakfast Tea, Date & Walnut Cake

Preparation time  (dates & tea) -  Overnight

Preparation time  (batter) -  20 minutes

Cooking time - approx 65 minutes

Makes 1 qty 9" loaf

Shopping list:

1/2 lb dates, pitted

3 tbs English Breakfast Tea leaves

1 cup light brown sugar

2-1/4 cups all purpose flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup walnut pieces

2 eggs

5 oz unsalted butter

Butter to serve

Preparation -

The night before -

English Breakfast Tea - Brew the tea by bringing a sauce pan of water to boil.

Add the English Breakfast tea leaves. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Dates - Halve and then finely chop. I find this easier to do with kitchen shears than with a knife and cutting board. Place in a bowl.

Sieve the tea into the bowl filled with dates. Press a spoon into the sieve to drain all the tea out of the leaves.

Stir the dates in the tea. Allow the dates to soak in the tea overnight.The dates will adsorb all the tea and will swell up.

The next morning,

Eggs - Crack in a bowl, discard shell. Beat eggs with a fork. Set aside.

Walnuts - In a separate bowl, place the walnuts with 1 tbs of the flour mixture. Stir so the walnuts are thoroughly coated with the flour.

Baking Method -

Preheat the oven to 325 deg F

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour & baking powder. Stir with a spatula till thoroughly mixed.

Add the brown sugar & the vanilla extract. Stir with the spatula till thoroughly combined.

In a pyrex/microwave safe bowl or cup, microwave the butter till melted. Also, in  separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the butter, dates, heavy cream & the beaten eggs.

Stir the batter and keep folding so all the lumps are broken down. Add the walnuts and continue to fold till the batter is just combined. Do not over work but make sure that the mixture is thoroughly blended through. The batter will be quite sticky and will need to be spooned into the loaf pan instead of being poured.

To line the 9" x 5" loaf pan - 

The easiest way I know to line a loaf pan with parchment paper is to cut two lengths of paper each the width and length of the pan.

Overlap the parchment sheets so they are hanging off the edges from all sides. Spray the parchment sides and bottom with some non-stick baking spray.

Spoon the cake batter into the pan. Make sure that the cake batter fills the corner s of the pan with the spatula.

Bake in the hot preheated oven for about 60-65 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean when the cake is pierced through its center.

Remove from the pan. Remove parchment and discard. Cool on a baking rack till ready to serve.

Cut into slices & serve with softened butter.

 

Enjoy!

 


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