So a few weeks ago we were in sunny Dubai embracing the lovely weather, relaxing family time, humble atmosphere and a variety of delicious food. From breakfast to dinner one thing that caught my eye was the dessert station, unfortunately no pictures were taken but when I say what a spread I seriously mean it. Breakfast started off with freshly baked pastries so crisp on the outside yet flaky and soft from the inside to a selection of mini tarts, cakes, muffins and signature desserts. Our time in Dubai was during Ramadan and Eid and it was such an alluring experience to be part off especially during the time of Iftar, the affection for sharing food was immense and first thing they would consume to break their fast is dates. From a young age, growing up in a multicultural society I’m aware of how much dates are devoured by various cultures, however, to experience this in another country where people welcome you kindheartedly and share their love for food was immense. Your table’s would greet you with a selection of dates for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a selection of desserts including cakes would consist of date and nuts and that’s when I came across Arabic date cake. It was rich, nutty, dense and full of wonderful flavours just what you needed with a cup of aromatic Arabic coffee after an afternoon swim. Now back home, the weather seems to have an Autumnal feel to it and the thoughts of long sleeves, boots and cardigans starts to play on my mind. To re-live our supertastic time in Dubai and to relish the sweet, honey like taste of dates here’s a recipe that will conjure your taste buds. Dates are not only delicious in taste but pose many health benefits too from being rich in dietary fiber to high levels of iron and potassium. Not to forget high in sugars too so everything in moderation 😉
This recipe was developed with reduced added sugar as I wanted the saffron caramel sauce to balance the sweet honey like flavour of the cake itself. Unlike the cake I had eaten which was absolutely delicious but quite dense, this is a lighter version and nut free for those who suffer from nut allergies. The downside to our lovely trip was that majority of the desserts contained nuts which could not be consumed by my dear hubby due to his nut allergy, so this recipe has been dedicated to him.
All in One Nut Free Arabic Date Cake with Saffron Caramel Sauce- Nut free, Soya free
Preparation time:40-45 minutes – includes soaking time for dates
Baking time: 50-60 minutes
Serves: up to 6
Arabic date cake:
115g pitted dates roughly chopped and soaked in 250ml hot water for about 30 minutes
145g Light soft brown sugar
180g Self raising flour
1 Tsp baking powder
180g Flora great for baking block or Margarine
3 beaten Large eggs at room temperature
Saffron caramel sauce:
150g Salted butter- I used Anchor
150g Billingtons light muscavado sugar
110ml Double cream
pinch of saffron
1. Grease and line a 6 inch round cake tin or equivalent.
2. Pre heat the oven to 170 degree C or 150 for fan assisted.
3. In a mixing bowl add all of the cake ingredients and mix into a smooth batter using a free standing mixer (medium speed) or hand held mixer. Do not over beat or else you’ll end up with a dense cake.
4. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 50-60 minutes. An inserted skewer should come out clean.
5. Whilst your cake is baking, you can start on making the sauce.
6. In a saucepan add in sugar and butter, on low to medium heat whisk the butter and sugar until well combined. This will take a few minutes. As the mixture starts to heat and bubble slightly, stir in the cream and saffron. Stir the mixture and cook for about 4-5 minutes stirring continuously. Switch off the heat and set aside.
7.Once the cake is baked, remove from the oven and let it cool in tin for 5 minutes before transferring it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
8. Once cake has cooled transfer to a dish and pour saffron caramel sauce over the cake. If the sauce has thickened just heat it up slightly to a pouring consistency.
Now grab a slice of this delicious date cake drenched in buttery saffron caramel sauce and enjoy…