HAVE you ever stopped to consider how much importance we place on cakes?

They seem to pop up in almost every aspect of our lives.

For example, we try to promote a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, so what we do is incorporate them into our cakes. Although strictly speaking this is not the way to have a healthy diet, it does provide us with the comfort food we crave.

Remember, everything in moderation.

At this time of year, we mark the arrival of Autumn and during this time we still have so many free foods in the garden and hedgerows.

Our native apples - such as Discovery, Cox’s orange pippin and Egremont russet - are much tastier and have up two to five times more vitamin C than the imported varieties.

Use them and turn them into wonderful tasting chutneys, liqueurs, pies and puddings.

The recipe today is for a date, apple and cinnamon cake / loaf.

Enjoy... and Happy Baking!


Date, apple and cinnamon loaf:


175g (6oz) of dried ready to eat dates.

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.

250ml (8fl oz) boiled water.

225g (8oz) self-raising flour.

1 teaspoon cinnamon.

115g (4oz) soft light brown sugar.

115g (4oz) margarine.

1 medium egg, beaten.

1 medium apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped.


1. The night before, chop the dates and place them in a small bowl. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and pour over the water. Cover and leave overnight.

If you do not have the time to do this, put the water and the dates in a small saucepan and bring to the boil stirring to stop the dates sticking. Stir in the bicarbonate soda and leave until the mixture is cold.

2. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C / 350F.

3. Grease and line two 1lb loaf tins.

4. Combine the flour and the cinnamon in a bowl. Rub in the margarine and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the date mixture and any liquid left.

5. Add the egg and chopped apple, stir altogether until all combined.

6. Divide the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for an hour-and-a-quarter. Cover the top of the cakes with greaseproof if it shows signs of becoming brown.

7. Test by inserting a skewer, which should come out clean.

8. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack.

9. This cake will freeze well.