So why I had the idea to substitute butter with pureed dates in this loaf cake is something of a mystery. Well, I suppose not entirely. It started off as a Nigella creation - the original appears in Kitchen, but although my bananas were squidgy, there weren't nearly enough of them so I started off my casting round for some banana substitute, wondering what would happen to the consistency of the loaf if I added grated apple. The pureed prune idea popped into my head from nowhere, but then I remembered that while I might not have any prunes knocking around, I did have dates in the cupboard, and a plan formed. I used enough dates to make up the weight of bananas I was missing, and half the butter. More to see what would happen than anything else.
As dates are pretty sweet too, I took the opportunity to cut down the sugar. I know, what a killjoy.
But although it doesn't look pretty, believe me, this is mighty good cake - definitely sweet and substantial enough to feel like a treat, and very tasty.
125g pureed dates (well - pureed in so far as I whizzed them all up in the food processor)
62g soft unsalted butter
3 small-medium ripe bananas
75g caster sugar
2 large eggs
175g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100g dried cherries
100g dessicated coconut
Line a 2lb loaf tin and pre-heat the oven to 170C
Melt the butter in a large-ish pan, then take off the heat while you mash up the banana and half the dates, beat the eggs together and sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarb.
Beat the sugar and the other half of the dates into the cooled, melted butter, then beat in the mashed banana/dates and beaten eggs. Fold in the flour mixture followed by the cherries and coconut.
Make sure everything is properly incorporated, then scrape into the lined tin and bake. The original recipe says 50 mins, but check after 45. This version took quite a bit longer, but I realised my oven wasn't hot enough to begin with... I popped a bit of foil over the top to stop it catching.
Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.