Holiday hammock pecan and date loaf

Holiday hammock pecan and date loaf

Recipes From a Normal Mum
David Loftus

I am slightly addicted to women’s magazines. I love the recipes, but most of all I love the travel and lifestyle section where there’s an interview and nose around some wonderful woman’s holiday home in a hot climate. Now that’s the life I aspire to. This cake is what I would bring if ever invited to stay. It is also a mighty fine way to finish off a picnic.

Please note that this is a treacley cake. I know this sounds obvious, but don’t make it unless you love that slightly bitter taste. That doesn’t mean it’s an ‘adult cake’ – far from it. Though maybe replace the Malibu with lemon if it’s for a mixed age crowd.


Quantity Ingredient
110g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
80g treacle
150g golden syrup
250ml whole milk
110g dark muscovado sugar
230g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100g dates, each chopped into about 6 pieces
80g pecans, each chopped into about 4 pieces
1 large egg
150g icing sugar
60g desiccated coconut
40ml malibu rum
or 40ml lemon juice, if you’re going booze-free


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 2 lb loaf tin, about 22 x 12 cm, 6 cm deep. In a large saucepan (and it must be large as you will be adding lots of ingredients to this pan), heat the butter, treacle, golden syrup, milk and dark muscovado sugar over a low heat until everything has melted and dissolved. You can give it a few stirs with a wooden spoon to help it along.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon until well distributed. Add the chopped dates and pecans and stir again until everything is thoroughly coated in the spiced flour mixture.
  3. When the treacle mixture has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and tip the flour mixture into it. Beat well with a wooden spoon until any lumps have disappeared. Add the egg and beat again. The batter will be glossy and very dark. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes until a skewer comes out of the centre completely clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack in the tin.
  4. Once the cake is cool, mix together the icing sugar, coconut and Malibu or lemon juice until glossy. Spoon the thick icing onto the top of the cake, smoothing with the back of the spoon as you go.

Ideas for dates

  • Add chopped dates to spinach leaves with toasted almonds and fried onions for a side salad. Or stuff with a little blue cheese, wrap in some bacon, bake for 25 minutes at 180°C and serve with Prosecco.
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