- (pyrex) savarin cake pan,
- diameter top 22,5,
- contents 1,1 l.,
- greased with butter
- 200 g dried dates, stoned
- 175 g self raising flour
- 50 g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 175 g soft butter
- 150 g caster sugar
- 3 eggs, large and very fresh
- 50 ml orange juice
- 250 g icing sugar
- 4-6 tablespoons orange juice
- orange peel
Ka’k al-burtuqal wa’l- tamar, brought from Oman. There the date, just as everywhere in Muslim countries, plays a very important role in the gastronomic culture from times immemorial. In Niswah, a ravishing small town in one of the largest date plantations of the country, I was welcomed with date paste and coffee by the owner of restaurant Al-Aqur. And during Ramadan a date with butter is eaten at the beginning of the evening meal, a fruit that was very much appreciated by the prophet Mohammed according to the tradition. He would have said: ‘a household without dates is a hungry household’. It is not simply a coincidence that the cultivation of dates is blooming in the Arab world.
Scientists at the Sultan Qaboos University have investigated new applications of the date, warm-heartedly supported by the enlightened despot. From these efforts this cake is a cheerful side effect. Not very Arabic? Well, as Western as the currant bread and the English wedding cake, you could buy at the baker’s in Al-Chuwair. This is very easy explained. It was the British-Dutch Shell that discovered oil in Oman in 1962, with as a result compounds full of not indigenous people. And so two English ladies (Parfitt and Valentine) could write an informative Omani date-book, sponsored by the firm Dateflake and dedicated to Sultan Qaboos bin Said (MCBS, Mina Al-Fahal, 1995).
- Chop the dates. Sieve the flours with salt in a bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas 4.
- In another bowl beat the butter and the sugar with an electric whisk or mixer until light in colour and very creamy in texture. Whisk in the eggs one by one. Using a large metal spoon gently fold in some of the sieved flour alternated by the orange juice. Then add the dates in small portions to prevent the pieces sticking together.
- Spoon the batter into the cake pan. Bake immediately on the lowest shelf of the oven for about 45 minutes until a skewer inserted to the cake comes out clean.
- Leave for 5 minutes, then if necessary loosen the the edges with a knife and carefully unmold onto a rack.
- Leave to cool completely. Then make the following icing: stir the sugar with so much juice as is needed for a smooth spreadable mixture. With the blunt side of a knife spread the icing onto the cake. Leave to dry. Garnish with orange peel. This cake freezes well.
- Thaw out in a microwave.