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
1/2 teaspoon salt
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.