orange-date walnut loaf

sometimes, you just have to do something different.  generally, when i go out to the garden, i take a cake with me.  nine out of ten cakes are some configuration of a bundt; they are baked in one of the many fluted/tube pans on my kitchen shelf.  not this time.  this cake was baked in a large loaf pan.

over the years, i have baked date-nut bread many times.  it is a favorite of my husband and me for that matter.  when i realized that i had a large tub of dates in the fridge, hidden there by my husband so that he could snack on them secretly, i knew i had to make a loaf of bread.

orange date-walnut loaf 
1 (9x5x3) loaf
(a little shameless self promotion, can’t help it…)
1 cup walnut pieces
6 ounces unsalted butter, soft
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup good quality wildflower honey
1 orange-zested
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped dates
2/3 cup sour cream
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan and set it aside.  place the walnuts into a baking dish and toast them until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
in a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, honey, orange zest and salt until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat until once again light and fluffy-another 2 minutes or so.  scrape the bowl well.
sift the flour and baking soda over the batter in the bowl.  fold it in by hand a few times.  add the walnuts, dates and sour cream and fold the batter until it is evenly mixed.  scrape the batter into the loaf pan.  bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about an hour.  immediately turn the loaf out onto a rack and allow it to cool completely, if you can.  serve slices with soft butter if you like.

summer savory pound cake

despite the heat and lack of rain, some of the herbs in the demonstration garden are going strong.  one of them that is putting on a show is the summer savory.  last week, i decided to cut the plant back since it had spilled out of the bed and across the walkway.  not wanting to waste the bounty, i brought it home.  it seems only fitting that it found it’s way into the cake i took to share with my fellow gardeners in the demonstration garden this morning.

to tell the difference between summer savory and winter savory, look at the color of the flowers.  winter savory has white flowers, summer savory has lavender.  while it doesn’t show well in the photo, the blooms most definitely were lavender.

summer savory pound cake
1 (4-6) cup bundt cake serving about 6-8
1 cup sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-2 tablespoons freshly picked summer savory leaves
zest from 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon wildflower honey
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour a 4-6 cup bundt or tube pan and set it aside.  cream the butter and sugar with the savory, zest and salt until it is light and fluffy.  add the eggs slowly, one at a time, and scrape the bowl between additions.  sift the flour and leaveners over the batter and fold it in a few times by hand.  sprinkle the buttermilk over the top of the batter and fold the mixture until it is completely blended.  scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven.  while the cake bakes, prepare the syrup by heating the juice and honey until they almost come to the simmer.  set aside and keep slightly warm.  bake the cake until a pick inserted comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes.  allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then turn it out onto a rack set over a pan to completely cool.  once the warm cake (yes, warm because a cold cake does not accept syrup as well as a warm one) is on the rack, gently brush the syrup over the top of the cake.  allow the cake to cool completely before serving.
and back out to the garden i go!  

twd: clementine loaf cake

and so comes along another baking with julia adventure!  today’s challenge is hosted by truc of treats and michelle of the beauty of life.  this was by far one of the easiest cakes to make.  the headnote to the recipe states it can be made in 5 minutes, 5 football minutes perhaps, but from start to finish, it will take longer than just 5 minutes.  found on page 252 of the Baking with Julia book, the recipe calls for lemon zest and as a result, it is titled “Lemon Loaf Cake” but i had a bowl of clementines that needed a purpose in this life-they became the key ingredient for this cake.

 clementines are a favorite snack around here.  we have a holiday tradition of keeping a box of them for all of the kids to snack on and i have many memories of family members lingering at the breakfast table with coffee cups and pieces of the rind stacked in little piles.  long after the holidays are done, boxes of these tasty treats still find the way to my dining room to tempt me.

 zesting the little fruits is almost tedious but well worth the effort.
 eggs are whipped with sugar and salt until foamy and blended-a quick process

 zest is whisked in and dry ingredients are sifted over the batter and whisked in gently

 some heavy cream is whisked in
 followed by melted butter and that is it!

 into the pan and into the oven-it’s so easy!!!

the fininshed cake, looks like a pound cake doesn’t it?  the comment i heard the most-it’s so light and delicate.  personally, i thought it could have had a little more heft to it, a little more fat since it seemed a tiny bit dry to me.  anyway, it didn’t last long around here.  a big round of applause goes out to truc and michelle for a job well done!