My 10 mile run yesterday was wet and windswept, yet for some bizarre reason it was the best run I've had in a long time. I felt really strong and managed to speed up for the whole of the last mile despite the howling gale into which I was running. I met some friends 'mid-run' and rather than stopping for a long chat I invited them for tea and cakes later. It was a great opportunity to try out my 'runners version' of the sticky date putting I had so been wanting to bake. I found this recipe in a lovely blog called Citrus and Candy and immediatly thought about adding a few extras to make it a really good treat for recovery after a big workout. The original recipe is soaked with a butterscotch sauce but we found this too sweet and decided the cake was much nicer with a good dollop of creme fraiche instead.
So why is this cake a good recovery treat?
Well, there's plenty of carbohydrate to replenish the glycogen levels in those tired muscles; dates are one of the few dried fruits with a high G.I., which means that the carbohydrate in them is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, there's protein from the eggs to help repair any muscle trauma, the added ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory and the walnuts are a great superfood, containing heaps of omega-3 and anti-oxidants. And it takes only a few minutes to make and tastes gorgeous!
Here's my version without the butterscotch sauce. If you were making this for a dessert, you may want to make some sauce to go with it:
- 140g pitted dates, chopped coarsely
- 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 190 ml boiling water
- handful of walnuts, chopped coarsely
- 2 lumps of preserved, stem ginger, chopped quite finely
- 90g softened unsalted butter
- 110g soft light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 medium free range eggs
- 130g self raising flour, sifted
- 1 tbsp preserved ginger syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 20 cm square cake tin
- Put the dates into a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and pour over the boiling water and leave for 20 minutes
- Beat together the sugar, vanilla extract and butter until pale and fluffy
- Add the eggs and beat well
- Fold in the date mixture (inc.water), the walnuts and the ginger and then fold in the flour
- Pour into a cake tin (the mixture is meant to be quite runny, don't worry)
- Bake for 30 minutes until the cake is risen and golden brown
- Cool in the tin for five minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack
- Warm the ginger syrup, prick the cake all over with a skewer and pour over the syrup so that it soaks in and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche