The addition of orange zest and wholewheat flour gives this loaf a beautiful texture and a deep rich flavour. I use Thoory or Zahidi dates because they are smooth with few fibers and excellent for baking but the more commonly found Medjool is also good.
1 cup brown dates such as Thoory or Zahibi or Medjool, pitted and finely chopped
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups maida or all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wholewheat flour
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon orange zest (orange peel only no white pith)
1.25 cups chopped skinned and lightly toasted walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and prepare middle rack.
Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and sprinkle all sides lightly with maida or all purpose flour. Smack the pan on the counter to remove any excess flour. Reserve pan.
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring dates and water to a boil.
Meanwhile cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or using an electric beater until fluffy.
Add orange extract, orange zest and nutmeg and beat again until fluffy
Add the egg and beat until well incorporated.
Remove dates from heat and stir in baking soda. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Add both the flour and nuts to the batter and beat until well incorporated.
Add the dates and soda and whisk again until evenly distributed.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 25 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Serve at room temperature and keep covered and refrigerated in humid weather.