Spiced lemon olive oil cake with date syrup
- April 2015
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 20 minutes, oven time 30 minutes, plus cooling
The late Marguerite Patten’s recipe for ginger cake was written during rationing. We’ve updated this Victorian era recipe to include olive oil instead of margarine.
- 17.1g (2.8g saturated)
- 50.2g (31.4g sugars)
For 8 servings
- 150ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing (see tip)
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 120g soft dark brown sugar
- Zest and juice 1 lemon
- 20g fresh ginger, grated
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the syrup
- 200g pitted dates
- Squeeze lemon juice
- Golden caster sugar
- Full-fat Greek yogurt (we like Total)
You’ll also need
- 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Lightly oil and line a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Beat the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until light and moussey. Finely grate in the lemon zest and the fresh ginger. Put the mixer back on and slowly pour in the olive oil, followed by the lemon juice.
- Mix the flour, ground spices and baking powder in a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt.
- Fold the flour mixture through the olive oil mixture with a metal spoon, then pour into the cake tin. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.
- Meanwhile make the syrup. Put the dates in a small saucepan with 500ml water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or so until soft, mashing them with a wooden spoon.
- Whizz the date mixture with a stick blender, or briefly in a food processor. Pass the dates through a sieve into another pan, squeezing out as much liquid as you can from the dates (discard the dates).
- Return the pan to a high heat and bubble the syrup until reduced by half. Taste and add a little lemon juice, if needed, to add balance.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes in the tin. Take it out of the tin, leave to cool for 30-40 minutes, then sprinkle with golden caster sugar and serve with yogurt and the date syrup on the side.
Use a decent quality extra-virgin olive oil but nothing too peppery or grassy.
Make the cake up to 24 hours ahead and warm in a low oven before serving.
Make the date syrup up to 3 days in advance, store in an airtight jar in the fridge or somewhere cool.
Freeze the baked sponge, well wrapped, for up to 1 month. Defrost, then warm through before serving.
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