So many British baking bloggers seem to prefer autumn to any other season, and I'm no exception! I love using the fresh autumn fruits and nuts, and being able to bake stodgier cakes meant to be eaten in front of a cosy fire after a long walk! It's also so satisfying to use homegrown products in my baking - we've been growing vegetables for many years, but have only just started branching out into fruit production, and our own hazelnuts are an unforseen consequence of planting an ornamental twisted hazelnut!
This cake, from the BBC Good Food site, certainly fits that bill! It's dense and moist, and flavoured with the warming spices of ginger and mixed spice. It's an unusual recipe for a cake, as it uses softened dates to provide moistness and density and some of the sweetness comes from ginger preserves. The use of dates also means that less fat can be used, which fits into my current baking style.
I used two more of the large conference pears from my mother's tree, and some fresh hazelnuts from our own tree (instead of pecans). The only other change I made to the recipe was to leave out the brandy syrup - and I don't think it was greatly missed, the cake was certainly moist enough without it.
As the website suggests, this cake makes a great dessert while still warm, but is just as good eaten cold, with or without a drizzle of fresh cream!
Autumnal Baking Challenge at What Kate Baked, as it's one of the best seasonal cakes I've tasted so far this year!