I got started with baking and ovens only post marriage when our friends gifted us a microwave-cum-oven for our wedding. It came with its own cookbook but somehow the cakes I tried with the recipes in that book never worked. I was not just new to baking, but also cooking. I was also full of the misconception – I know everything! What a full-headed creature I was – knew not a thing about either cooking or baking, but wanted results from day 1!
I turned to my best friend Aparna. She was an enthusiastic character and used to bake cakes even when in college. Read this post for a picture and more on the cake she baked for my birthday. I did not even have a mobile phone back then. I’d shifted to another city after my wedding and I trudged down to the nearest phone booth, a paper and pen in tow, to take down the recipe over phone.
My nephews, four really naughty boys aged 6-10 back then, loved whatever I made for them. I probably did not set the temperature or the timing properly. And the cakes turned out half-done and uncooked. To set them right, I’d pop them into the microwave mode for a few mins and they’d be fine.
But my first truly successful baking venture was with this chocolate-walnut cake. I got truly interested in baking after that, but it was mainly cookies and not cakes. Now, I bake cookies at least once every other week and I’m addicted to chocolates. So, it is usually one or the other variety of chocolate cookies and it is a herculean task for me to ensure every other batch of cookies or biscuits I bake is non-chocolate!
Last week, while going through some food blogs, I chanced upon a dates and chocolate loaf at this site. I was actually looking at some other stuff but my stubborn mouse led me straight to the cakes and cookies section and from there on to this cake, really! And the pictures on the blog were so darn tempting, I bought whatever wasn’t available in the ingredient list the very next day and baked it.
I added a quarter cup more of dates than the recipe called for and ended with a dense and moist cake that was more a brownie than a loaf, but no one really complained! It tastes absolutely heavenly and even my brother, who doesn’t have a taste for chocolates ate a couple of slices and said it tastes quite professional! Thanks CL for this wonderful recipe! We pop it into the microwave oven for 20 seconds before serving it and it takes on the effect of a just baked cake! Enjoy…
Nut-Loaded Choco-Date Brownies
Maida/All purpose flour – 1 ¼ cup
Chopped almonds – ½ cup
Chopped Dates – 1 cup
Oil – 1/3 cup
Butter – 2 tbsp
Brown sugar – ¾ cup
Granulated sugar – 1/8 cup
Cocoa powder – ¼ cup
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Salt – ½ tsp (omit if using salted butter)
Cloves – 2
Cinnamon – ½ inch piece
Orange zest/grated orange peel – 1 tbsp
Instant coffee powder – 1 ¼ tbsp mixed with 1 cup hot water
(You can use 1/3 cup strong coffee decoction mixed with 2/3 cup water too)
Milk – 3 tbsp
Flaxseed powder – 1 tbsp mixed with 3 tbsp hot water
Mix coffee powder and hot water and add dates. Let it stay this way for 10-15 mins allowing dates to get soft
Sift flour and cocoa powder together and add salt
Add baking soda and orange zest to dates- coffee and let it stay that way for 5 mins
Mix sugar, oil, butter, milk and vanilla extract
Add flour-cocoa mix as well as flaxseed powder-hot water mix
Now add dates-coffee-baking soda mix
Mix everything well such that there are not lumps
Now add chopped almonds and mix well
Grease your cake pan and pour in the brownie mix
Bake for around 50 mins or longer till a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean
Cool completely. Cut and into brownie-shaped slices and serve!