A few months ago – on a day when I was desperate to bake something in my kitchen just to feel that joy of creating something from scratch – I picked up my copy of Palestine on a Plate (which I’m ashamed to say had been lying on the shelf for a long time…) and baked this fantastic Banana and Medjool Date Cake.
I love both bananas and dates and use them a lot on baking. I have a very sweet tooth! I usually keep a box of dates in my fridge at all times, which I buy them on trips to Middle Eastern countries such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi. They are a lot cheaper to buy in UAE and I find that they last for months when you keep them refrigerated and in an airtight container.
Medjool dates are very soft (as opposed to semi-dry or dry varieties of dates), so they work really well as a substitute for sugar in baking recipe. I often use dates in gluten-free / paleo cakes, such as this Date and Almond Bread or these Sweet Potato Brownies by Deliciously Ella.
Palestine on a Plate: Memories from my mother’s kitchen is a beautiful cookbook by Joudie Kalla, a chef with 16 years of experience working in restaurants in London.
In her debut book, she showcases the wide-ranging, vibrant and delicious dishes of Palestine, through her favourite family recipes. These recipes have been passed down from generations to generations and most of them are a staple of any Palestinian home, while others are dishes adapted to Joudie’s kitchen.
Expect a lot of mouth-watering dishes: from delicious breakfasts to vibrant lunches and moreish cakes.
Palestinian cooking is not fussy, but delicate and beautiful. Delicious and captivating. [Joudie Kalla]
I adore Middle-Eastern food, so when I was offered a copy of this cookbook to review, I happily accepted. This is the first recipe I have made from Palestine on a Plate, but I have bookmarked several more that I can’t wait to try.
Banana and Medjool Date Cake
- 300g salted butter, softened
- 300g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 bananas, plus 1 slices for decoration
- 9-12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 100g milk or dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 350g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (180°C) and line a 27cm round baking tin with baking parchment.
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and light. Add the eggs and beat again until well combined.
Peel and mash the bananas in a bowl until just smooth with a few chunks. Add to the cake mix with the dates and chocolate and fold in gently, being careful not to overwork. Fold in the flour and baking powder.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the sliced banana on top for decoration. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave it to cool, then serve with tea or coffee. This cake will keep for a day or two in an airtight container.