Easy Date and Walnut Cake - by Ian Huckin
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Ian Huckin

A good way of using up mincemeat left over from Christmas. This is a moist cake, with a simple method. It will last for days, if you can resist it! If freezing it, do so the day after you cook it. It will keep for at least three months in most freezers.

Pre-heat oven to 160°C.

You will need:

9 oz Butter (best option) Margarine or Sunflower Oil
2½ oz Chopped Walnuts
9 oz Chopped Dates
½ pt Water
12 oz Mincemeat (Home-made is preferable)
1 Tin condensed milk (400g) Use the 'light' option if you want. It works just as well.
2½ oz Chopped Glace cherries
12 oz Self Raising Flour
2 Teaspoons Bicarbonate of Soda

Put Fat, Water, Walnuts, Dates and Mincemeat into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until Butter/Marge has melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in Condensed Milk and add the Cherries.

Leave to stand for a few minutes whilst you sift Flour and Bicarbonate of Soda into a large mixing bowl.

Grease and flour two loaf tins. Add the wet ingredients to the flour and fold it through. The wet and warm ingredients will react with the Bicarbonate and will swell a little. Divide the mixture equally between the tins, but try not to over-fill them.

Place into centre of oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean. Do not test it for at least 35 minutes or the cake will collapse.

When baked, remove from oven and leave to stand in tins for a couple of minutes. Gently tap the tins and turn cakes out onto cooling rack. When cool, wrap in cling-film and keep in a tin for at least a day (or it will fall apart when cut). They will drop a little during cooling.

N.B. How big you chop the dates, walnuts and cherries is a matter of taste. I like mine chunky, so I just break the walnuts up by hand, rough chop the dates, and leave the cherries whole.
If you like a crunchy top, sprinkle with Demerara sugar whilst it is still hot.
As an alternative, replace the dates and/or walnuts with fruit, like ripe bananas and tinned (not fresh) pineapple.
Or for a plain fruit cake, add more mincemeat.
You can also add some Brandy or Sherry if that is your want! Soak mincemeat and dates overnight in the alcohol for a more subtle flavour.

Contributed by Ian Huckin