I have been learning to bake, one step at a time. My approach is to master a single recipe, then try variations on that one with other ingredients, calling my sister in Australia for midnight inspiration as often as not. For the holidays, I wanted to make a fruitcake like I remembered from childhood, but without the bits I didn’t like, such as peel, cherries and nuts. Of course, I called my sister to get a recipe, and some suggestions on how to experiment, as she’s my inspiration for such things. She suggested I start with the Divine Date Loaf recipe, soak a bunch of raisins, sultanas, currants and diced apricots in alcohol, and add them until the batter couldn’t coat any more fruit. This sounded good to me, and I proceeded to experiment from there.
Variations on Divine Date Loaf
- Substitute gluten free flour for plain flour
- Use barley malt syrup instead of molasses
- Add a cup of honey for sweetness
- Soak about 3 cups chopped sultanas, raisins, apricots,
currants in 1 cup rum + 1 cup brandy for 3 days, stirring each day.
Add cup of honey, lemon crystals or zest to this mix.
- Cook at lower temperature (300 instead of 375 degrees) for 40 minutes
- Stand small loaf pans in water bath to prevent burning
- At the 30 minute mark, turn off heat and put aluminum foil on top of pans (prevents burning)
I made 4 mini loafs and a bunch of muffins in large silicon muffin moulds. It was golden, delicious and like nectar. Mmmmmm.