Apart from being tasty and high in fibre,  dates – I recently was glad to learn – are a fairly decent source of iron.  So that’s just another reason to recommend this easy and flavoursome date loaf.  It’s a melt and mix kind of thing, doesn’t need any fancy equipment, and you’ll soon have afternoon tea sorted and lunchbox treats for the next day too if you’re lucky.   I snaffled some for work and think it was even better than fresh out of the oven.

Perhaps it had something to do with the special mysterious goodness that came from the German lebkuchen spice mix that I used here: the cinnamon, cardamom and clove flavours complemented the dates really well.   In the absence of the spice mix you could probably substitute your own blend of those ground spices – maybe even a half-and-half combination of cinnamon and ginger, which I’d be keen to try next time – or you could skip the spices altogether for a satisfying, simple fruit loaf.

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Spicy date loaf
Adapted from the Sanitarium website

1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp margarine or butter
1 cup water
1 egg
1/2 cup each of self raising white and wholemeal flour
2 tsp lebkuchen spice mix, or other spice mix of choice

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a shallow loaf tin (14 cm x 21 cm) with baking paper.

Place the dates, sugar, margarine and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then simmer lightly for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

When the date mixture is just cool enough to tough, add in the egg and stir through the flours and spices.  The loaf  batter doesn’t melt much while cooking so if you want a loaf with a nice neat top, smooth out the top of the cake batter now.

Yield: 1 loaf, about 12-14 slices.

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