Tuesday, June 21, 2011

{TWD} Date-Nut Loaf


The Tuesdays With Dorie bakers have been baking a lot of cakes with brown sugar in recent weeks. We had the Pecan Brown Sugar Bundt Cake and the Blueberry Brown Sugar Plain Cake. And now, the Date-Nut Loaf, which is actually a brown sugar cake with dates and nuts added. I'm not complaining, however, because these cakes are wonderful: the brown sugar gives a touch of caramel flavor.

Date nut loaves are such an old-fashioned treat; something about the combination of the dates and the nuts is both reassuring and rewarding. I knew that my husband is a fan of date nut breads, so I planned to bake a whole loaf hoping that he would consume most of it.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- This week's recipe was chosen by my funny and creative baking buddy Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet. If you don't know her blog, click over there for the date loaf recipe and stay to read about all of the fun she has with her family in her kitchen.

- Dorie's recipe specifies plump, soft dates. I had a full container of dates in my dried fruit stash, but they were hard and dry. I reconstituted them by soaking them in a mixture of boiling water and rum for an hour or so.

- For a quarter of the flour, instead of all-purpose flour I used freshly milled hard red wheat flour. I talked about my mill on this post on my bread blog, and I must say that fresh whole grain gives breads an amazingly complex nutty flavor.

- I used dark brown sugar rather than the light stuff specified in the recipe because I always do. What's better than brown sugar flavor than more brown sugar flavor?

- What could be more perfect for such an old-school cake flavor than a vintage loaf pan? I baked this cake in my long slim pan. Truth be told, I bake all loaf cakes in that pan, but it felt especially appropriate for this recipe.

- In addition to buttering and flouring the pan, I lined the bottom with parchment. Side note: did you know that you can wash off parchment and use it again? It is impregnated with silicone, so it has no problem doing a bit of time in the dishwater. [updated 6/22/11 to clarify: you can wash the parchment in a sink of soapy water, but I wouldn't try an actual dishwasher]


the verdict:

This cake had wonderfully caramelized edges, thanks to the brown sugar. Even though I had used a substantial percentage of whole grain flour, the loaf was light, moist and with the unmistakeable sweet date taste. My husband loved this one, eating it for dessert with rum ice cream the first two evenings, then switched to toasting it with butter for the next several days. We both agreed that it made delectable toast. There is no doubt that this recipe will be a repeat in my kitchen, and sooner rather than later. Thanks, Mary, for a great pick!

17 comments:

Cindy said...

I agree, this recipe will be a repeat, soon. I made it in minis, I hope to gift some if I don't eat them first. I need to buy a pan like your vintage loaf pan. I have seen a pan at KAF that looks similar. Although it is not a vintage price!
Have a great week.

Cakelaw said...

I adore the caramel colour of your loaf - it more closely resembles the date loaf that I am used to.

Peggy said...

Of course yours was perfect - as always!! I love seeing what you do with your recipes. I would never have thought to soak the dates in the water and rum like that. Publix had no dates so I had to use apricots, and my cake was dry. I'm hoping it is better today. going to try it this morning with a cup of coffee.

spike. said...

Love that you used some whole grain flour. looks delish! I've reused parchment but didn't know it could stand up to the dishwasher! very cool

Flourchild said...

Im glad you enjoyd it! Your bread looks yummy! Using whole grain flour is a good idea:)

Lauryn said...

so glad u enjoyed this one! Oooh, and thanks for that parchment tip! I had no idea I could reuse it!!

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Wow. I bet it was amazing with the rum ice cream! Beautiful loaf, Nancy!

Katrina said...

I spent last week out of town, so I didn't get this made, but yours is a great endorsement to do so sometime! Looks great. I have a grain mill and love it, too!

Nicole said...

Oh, dates with rum would be great. I keep dates in the fridge and they keep fairly well. I loved this recipe.

Tia said...

the edges are always the best part eh? mmmmm

http://www.buttercreambarbie.com

Mary said...

I am so glad you liked it too and that it honored the Nancy Vintage Pan :). Thanks for baking along with me this week...I need to make this again soon.

Tracey said...

Woah, neat tip about the parchment - I had no idea! I can't wait to try that trick.

I skipped the date-nut loaf because I was too afraid of the dates. I've never had them yet have convinced myself I'm not a fan. Your loaf looks wonderful, glad it was a hit there :)

alvarosa said...

When I saw your picture my first thought was "where does this colour come from?" - must be the extra flour! Great idea!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

What I meant to say about the parchment is that it holds up to being washed in a sink full of dishwater. Pretty sure it would be a disaster in a dishwasher though!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i often reuse parchement (as long as it's only been used on something sweet)...my husband finds it very odd. this bread did make wonderful toast!!

Kayte said...

Looks great and I love the little design pattern you made with it on the plate. I didn't make it...for some reason, quick breads are a fall/winter thing here and no one eats them in the summer. I know, we are a fickle lot, 'tis true.

TeaLady said...

Love the brown sugar cakes too. And using dark brown is always a good idea.

I reuse the parchement when I can, but never thot of putting it in the dishwasher.. Clever idea.