I have always loved date cake recipes or anything else made with dates. I have shared with you before about driving to Cincinnati as a kid with Mom and Dad and going to a bakery owned by close family friends (They could have been related). Anyway they made wonderful baked goods using dates. The date bars were my first taste of this fabulous fruit. I was overwhelmed and never forgot that taste.
As a kid we never had dates in the house; I think they must have been too expensive. We usually had raisins so there had to be a reason Mom did not buy dates; we all loved those date bars. Now knowing a little about the history of dates and that they have been used for eating and cooking in the Middle East for thousands of years, it must have cost too much for preserving and shipping.
The first recipe is my favorite. It has been on my list of Christmas cake recipes for many years and it is delicious. Some refer to it as a cranberry cake because of the large amount of the berry added; these two fruits go very well together. The orange sauce topping really adds great flavor to the dates and berries. How delicious!
When adding to my holiday recipes, I always look for good fruit and nut recipes and always wanting to include a few date cake recipes. These along with a variety of flavors and spices seem necessary for my holiday baking. (Maybe it is the aroma that I like.) Many people say they don’t like fruit cake recipes but there are so many completely different tastes and textures.
The Potica cake is another form of fruitcake or date cake recipe. It is totally different from what one here in the United States classify as “fruitcake”. It is very popular in Eastern Europe and is made with yeast dough. The date filling is rolled up in the dough jelly roll style producing a wonderfully flavored cake.
I personally love most fruit cakes especially the date cake recipes. I usually make several at Christmas, cut them in small pieces and place them on my trays filled with a variety of cookies. They are firm and heavy and make a nice appearance on the trays. The various fruits and flavors help me to round off all the taste which I like to include in my holiday baking.
DATE CAKE RECIPE
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl combine and mix the eggs, buttermilk, sugar and oil. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Stir in the dates and cranberries and mix until well blended. Pour batter into a greased 10 inch tube baking pan or a bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour or until cake test done. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes or 20 minutes; remove from pan to a deep serving dish. Add the following orange sauce recipe.
ORANGE SAUCE RECIPE
Combine the sugar and orange juice and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly drip liquid over the cake until all of it is soaked in the cake. Cover and refrigerate the cake. Can be served by the slice with whipped cream or cut smaller pieces to serve on a plate with other assortment of cakes and cookies.
The following date cake recipe is called a Potica cake. It is a traditional holiday cake for the Slovenian countries. Unlike most of our cake recipes it is made with yeast dough. It is made in layers but during the baking it all becomes one cake. And very delicious!
Heat butter and milk until butter melts.
Mix yeast in lukewarm water
Sift flour, sugar and salt together.
Stir the beaten egg yolks into the milk mixture; add to the flour mixture.
Add the yeast mixture to the milk and flour mixture; beat well and refrigerate overnight. (Dough is very sticky)
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Combine dates, nuts, cinnamon, 3 Tablespoons sugar and milk over heat stirring to a paste; cool.
Beat egg whites until stiff gradually beating in 1 cup sugar; fold in the cooled paste.
Roll out ½ of refrigerated dough into 20 inch square; spread ½ of filling over dough.
Roll dough up like a jelly roll and place into greased angel food cake pan.
Repeat same with remaining ½ dough and filling; place over other roll in pan.
Bake 65 minutes; sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.