I adore this time of year. With the change of weather, a clear day's sky actually looks blue, in comparison to the harsh bright white sky I squint through over the Summer months. I love being able to enjoy the Brisbane sun without the humidity. And with the mornings' temperature quite abruptly dropping, it's so easy for a simple cup of tea to seem to much better than I ever remembered. So as my tea consumption hits an all-year high, I of course need a new tea cake recipe to accompany my all-time favourite beverage.
1 cup chopped fresh dates
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup freshly brewed earl grey tea
2 apples, peeled and grated
1 1/4 cups self raising flour, sifted
3/4 cup brown sugar
150 gms unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line a 10-cup capacity loaf tin with baking paper - I used a standard sized tin and four mini loaf tins.
Place the dates, tea and bicarb soda in a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Using a stick blender, blend the date mixture until smooth. Alternatively, process in a blender or food processor.
Place the apple, flour and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter, eggs, vanilla and date mixture and mix well to combine. Spoon into your loaf tin/s, and bake large loaf for 40 - 55 minutes (small loafs for 20 - 25 minutes) until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool in tin for ten minutes before turning out on a wire rack.
This is such an incredibly quick and easy recipe, and the result is perfect straight from the oven with (or without) a nice melty patch of butter, or even toasted until slightly crispy on the edges. I've since frozen the remains of this batch and look forward to getting a mini-loaf out of the freezer each day. It's also nice to have a tea-style loaf that isn't filled with banana, given their insane prices right now.
Even our neighbourhood birds enjoyed a slice or two.
Recommended baking soundtrack: Okkervil River - The Stand Ins.