This classic, old fashioned Banana Date Cake with Walnut and Honey Glaze would be perfect to serve anytime, but it would be a lovely way to round out afternoon tea in the sunshine on a summer afternoon. It has lots of body and flavour, and it’s one of those cakes that gets better after sitting for a day or two at room temperature. I have the perfect covered cake dish for this purpose, although I must confess that there is usually not much of the cake left after a day or two as it is so delicious! We eat it for breakfast as well as tea and dessert, and I’ve made it twice already since discovering the recipe in BBC Good Food magazine this month. Developed by Mary Cadogan, it is a really straight forward recipe that turns into something very special indeed.
As regular readers will know, I can never leave a recipe alone, and I’ve played the method of mixing Mary suggests to make the cake lighter as well as adding more dates (we love them) and some extra spice. Next time I’m going to try using pecans instead of walnuts as I think they would be absolutely scrumptious. I also made double the amount of glaze as I didn’t feel the original amount was enough.
Do choose a really good liquid honey to make this cake. The honey is a really predominant flavour, so the one you choose is very important. There are all sorts of speciality honeys available these days, from mild Canadian clover to stronger thyme infused Greek honey and sweet Orange Blossom. I like a milder honey for this cake. Orange Blossom is perfect and I’ve also used a mild variety of local honey as well.
Banana Date Cake with Walnut & Honey Glaze
Adapted from BBC Good Food magazine
For the cake
6 ounces (175 grams) butter, softened
4 ounces (100 grams) light brown sugar
7 ounces (200 grams) self-raising flour
1 generous teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons liquid honey
3 small very ripe bananas, mashed
(roughly 12 ounces or 350 grams weighed with skins on)
5 ounces dates, stoned
2 ounces chopped walnuts or pecans
For the glaze
4 tablespoons clear honey
2 ounces (50 grams) butter
3 ounces walnut or pecan halves
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C or 140°C for fan ovens).
Grease a bundt cake pan.
Cream the butter and sugar together. I used an electric mixer for this. Add the eggs and beat together. Mix in the honey. Add the flour, cinnamon and ginger and beat until light and fluffy.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the bananas, dates and nuts. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. The top should be firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for about ten minutes before turning out on to a wire rack.
Once the cake is cool, make the glaze.
Put the butter and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Once the butter is well melted, boil for about one minute until it begins to thicken slightly. Remove from the heat. Stir in the nuts and then leave to cool until it begins to thicken up slightly.
Spoon over the top of the cake (I found I needed to use my fingers to arrange the nuts on top) and leave to set. Store covered at room temperature.