After reading Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, I was inspired by his interpretation of Turkish and Moroccan flavours.
Specialty ingredients like rose water, dates, and sweet spices are fun to work with and the aromatic flavours remind me of when I was a child. I’d spend hours in my back paddock, dragging my cousin who lived next door away from his Nintendo to harvest leaves for potions! I will add that the combination of eucalyptus, hot water and lemon juice will never make an appearance in my friend Rick’s Mediterranean Escapes, or any other Escape!! So please, don’t try that recipe – especially in your mother’s antique flower vase. She will be extremely angry that you helped yourself to her china cabinet, and quite possibly planning to use the lemons herself!
I had lots of fun making this cake, but extra stamina was needed to fend off my skinny sister with the ferocious appetite, mid way through shooting the cake!
If this recipe should inspire you, let it inspire you to return to your childhood - a time when cooking was an opportunity to use your imagination.
14 medjol dates, pits removed
¼ cup maple syrup
A few drops of rose water
2 ½ cups almond flour
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking powder
Rhubarb and White Chocolate Icing
1 bunch of rhubarb
2 tbsp. caster sugar
180 g of white chocolate, broken into pieces
1/3 cup crushed pistachios
3 medjol dates
Preheat the oven 180˚C. Prepare a 20-centimeter circular cake tin with baking paper. Get a coffee mug and fill it with the dates then pour boiling water over the top until just covered. While the dates are softening, whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl, then add maple syrup and the rose water. Strain the mug of softened dates reserving a few centimeters of water at the bottom. Stir in the dates to the egg mixture until combined. In a larger mixing bowl, add the almond meal, spices, orange zest, and baking powder. Mix until dry ingredients are combined. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry, folding in small portions at a time. Make sure you don’t overwork the cake batter. Pour the batter into prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes. Check cake by placing a metal skewer into the centre. Depending on your oven you may have to cook for further 5 minutes. Cool in tin for 20 minutes.
While the cake is cooking, make white chocolate and rhubarb icing. Wash the rhubarb stalks and chop into 1 cm size pieces. Place in medium sized saucepan with caster sugar. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure the rhubarb does not catch on the bottom of the saucepan. Place the rhubarb aside to cool. Melt the white chocolate in a double saucepan. Stir chocolate until melted. Place chocolate aside. Now slather the top of the cake with rhubarb - be as messy or neat as you please - I prefer messy! Then, throw spoonfuls of white chocolate from a distance so it splatters against the pink rhubarb, creating a Jackson Pollock or preschool painting! Then decorate with crushed pistachios and two or three reserved medjol dates. I always buy flowers and can’t help using them to decorate my cakes. Even if they’re slightly dead, they’ll look so pretty ...