Date and Chocolate Loaf

A rich loaf that’s so moist it doesn’t need to be buttered. The dates give the cake a lovely toffee flavour and texture.

150 g (5 oz) stoned dried dates

150 ml (¼ pint) boiling water

150 g (5 oz) plain chocolate (39 per cent cocoa solids)

40 g (1½ oz) softened butter

150 g (5 oz) Brazil nuts

225 g (8 oz) plain flour

40 g (1½ oz) caster sugar

1 level teaspoon baking powder

1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 large egg

150 ml (5 fl oz) milk

demerara sugar, for sprinkling

1 Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Grease a 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin then line the base with baking parchment.

2 Roughly chop the dates and place in a small bowl. Pour over the boiling water and leave to soak for about 30 minutes. Break up the chocolate and melt with the butter in a small bowl, set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Roughly chop the Brazil nuts and reserve about 2 tablespoons for decoration.

3 In a bowl mix together the flour, caster sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix together the egg and milk and beat this into the dry ingredients, adding the nuts, dates and their soaking liquid, and the chocolate mixture. Spoon into the prepared tin, level the surface and sprinkle over the reserved nuts along with the demerara sugar.

4 Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil towards the end of the cooking time if the cake is becoming too brown. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Read More: How to Prepare a Classic Rich Christmas Cake

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