Romantic cottages for two in the Peak District

Tom’s & Douglas’s Barns Recipes: Pecan and Molasses Cake

This week was the first time I had made this tray bake recipe, saved (and considerably adapted) from a Sainsbury’s 2006 magazine. It has taken me six years to try it and I wish I had sooner. Both lots of guest have asked for the recipe, so I have tried to remember what I did which varies quite a bit from the original recipe I have in front of me as I write. Perhaps to be safe I will make this again for Monday’s guests before posting this! (I have and it was fine. In fact, none left for John to photograph! So you will have to imagine it…)

I used molasses but you could use black reacle or molasses; you could also substitute walnuts for the pecans without making a great difference to the final taste.

Tom’s & Douglas’s Barns Recipes: Pecan and Molasses Cake

For the cake

1 x 375g pack stoned chopped dates (or chop them yourself)

1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp instant coffee granules OR 1 tsp Camp coffee

75g soft butter

125g caster sugar

100g molasses or black treacle

2 eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

275g plain flour

11/2 tsp baking powder

1x100g pack shelled pecan nuts, roughly chopped


23 x 30cm (12” x 9”) non-stick deepish baking tin (if you think it may not be deep enough, to be safe line with parchment with the sides standing 5cm (2”) proud of the tin

For the Topping

75g chopped pecan nuts

75g dark brown sugar

1tsp Camp coffee or instant granules

1tbs molasses or black treacle


Preheat the oven to 190’C, fan 170”C, gas 5

Put the chopped dates into a bowl and pour 310ml boiling water over them.

Sprinkle the bicarb on the top, and the coffee, and leave to stand.

Put the butter, sugar, molasses, egg and vanilla extract into a food processor and whizz until the mixture is creamy.

Drain the dates, keeping the liquid.

Add the flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt and the liquid from the dates to the mixture in the processor and whizz again until well mixed.

Add the dates and nuts and pulse until the dates and nut are chopped – but not too finely – and well mixed into the cake mixture

Scrape into the baking tin. Level the top and sprinkle in the mixed topping ingredients over the top.

Bake on the middle shelf (bottom shelf of an Aga hot oven, with the cold plain sheet hanging on the second rungs down) for 25-30 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.

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