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COFFEE NUT CAKE WITH DATE FILLING Coffee nut cake with date filling
120 g butter
120 g sugar
2 eggs
1½ - 2 tsp instant coffee granules or instant espresso powder
about 1 tsp boiling water
120 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar
20 g finely chopped walnuts or hazelnuts
filling:
115 - 125 g pitted, dried dates
90 - 200 ml water
½ tsp vanilla sugar
1 tbsp honey
icing:
40 g (unsalted) butter
about 100 g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp instant coffee granules or instant espresso powder
about 1 tsp boiling water
for garnish:
whole hazelnuts or walnuts or honey-glazed walnuts

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of two springform pans of equal size (Ø about 16 cm). Line the pan bottoms with a disk of parchment paper and butter also the paper. Set aside.

To make the filling, slowly simmer the dates with a dash of water until soft. Add more water during cooking, if necessary. Using a spoon, rub and push the mushy date mixture through a sieve to form a smooth, thick puree, leaving the skins and fibrous membranes behind. Mix in the vanilla sugar and honey, cover and set aside to cool.

Beat the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in boiling water and mix in the batter. Combine the flour, baking powder, vanilla sugar and chopped nuts and add to the batter. Stir gently to mix.

Pour the batter in the two springform pans, dividing it equally. Smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake the cakes at 175 °C, in the lower part of the oven, for about 25 - 30 minutes or until a cake tester/toothpick inserted in the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool for a couple of minutes inside the pans, then carefully remove them and place cakes on a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Soften the butter, mix in the sifted icing sugar and vanilla sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Dissolve the instant coffee in boiling water and mix in the icing. Add some more icing sugar, if the icing seems too thin. It should not be runny, but quite stiff.

Place one cake bottom on a serving plate and spread the date filling evenly on top. Place the other cake bottom on top, pressing it lightly. Spread the icing on the top and sides of the cake using a large palette knife or spatula. Garnish the top with a few hazelnuts or plain or honey-glazed walnuts. The cake can be served immediately. Serve with tea, coffee or espresso.

Recipe source: adapted from "Coffee nut cake", Dickson Wright, Clarissa, and Jennifer Paterson (1999) Two Fat Ladies Obsessions. London: Ebury Press.


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