GROW FOOD slow food Have your garden and eat it too. A practical guide to organic gardening in the sub-tropics with step-by-step instructions and delicious seasonal recipes. Come with me too on some of my travels in Australia, Europe, Asia and beyond.
The March Garden – still raining!

MY FAVOURITE RECIPE BOOK:  I don’t have a large collection of cookery books, but return over and over again to my favourites – top of the list is Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion.  I like her mixing and matching of ingredients, simple little side recipes, use of Australian produce and the fact that the recipes invariably ‘work’.

This recipe is one of them and is definitely on the ‘comfort food list’.  It was a big hit at the last Garden Club meeting.  Easy to make and both the sauce and cake will keep in the fridge – I freeze half the sauce for the next one.  I have made it many times and it is very reliable.

You can eat it plain, without the sauce as an afternoon cake, or warm it and the sauce up and serve with ice-cream, cream, or vanilla yoghurt as a special desert.

Sticky Date Cake 

170g dates, stoned and chopped

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

300ml boiling water

60g unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 free-range eggs

170g self raising flour

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


400g brown sugar

1 cup pure cream

250g unsalted butter

1 vanilla bean, split

  1. Preheat oven at 180C and butter an 18 cm square cake tin.
  2. Mix dates and bicarb soda in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leaving to stand while you continue.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar, then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  4. Fold in flour gently, then stir in date mixture and vanilla gently.
  5. Pour into prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40mins or until springs back in the middle, pulls away from the edges and a tester comes out clean.
  6. To make the sauce, bring all the ingredients to the boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 mins. Remove the vanilla bean and pour a little sauce on the cooked pudding and return to the oven for a minute to let it soak in.
    NOTE:  This gives the cake a wonderful glossy coating.
    Serve with extra sauce and cream/ice cream.

Sticky Date Cake
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