Guest Post: Honey and Date Cake with Spiced Icing

So, welcome to our first guest post! We're pleased to bring you a recipe shared with us by Rob Fred Parker*, a friend of C's and an excellent baker. C went to university with Rob, a writer who now co-edits cultural website The Frame Loop, and remembers long seminars made much more bearable by Rob's baked goods which he brought in to share - in particular, his brilliant banana bread. While Rob assures us that he can still cook mean banana bread, these days he's expanded his repertoire to more unusual choices as well, and has kindly agreed to share one of his trusted recipes.

Without further ado, over to Rob for his recipe for Honey and Date Cake with Spiced Icing - with its Middle Eastern twist, it's exactly our kind of thing...

"This cake has a complex, Arabic taste courtesy of the mix of spices, with almonds providing a crunch to the icing. It's a trusted recipe which recently won me a bake-off, and while there's quite a few ingredients, the method is fairly simple and uncomplicated. It goes well with a cup of chai tea, and should keep for about a week in a cake tin.


  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 175g softened butter
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g stoned and finely diced dates
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Small amount of chopped fresh ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 160C (Gas 3/ fan 140C)
  2. Lightly butter the base and sides of a 900g (2lb) tin and line with greaseproof paper
  3. Tip flour, butter, sugar, honey, cinnamon, eggs, dates and bananas into a large mixing bowl
  4. Crush half of the almonds in a pestle or mortar or floor processor. Add to mixing bowl
  5. Beat the mixture for 2-3 minutes with a wooden spoon or hand-held mixer, until well blended
  6. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top
  7. Bake for 1 hour. If the top of the cake if firm, it's done – if not, bake for another ten minutes

Icing ingredients

  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 150g softened butter
  • Liberal sprinkle of ground mixed spice


  1. Beat the butter until smooth
  2. Add half of the icing sugar and mix together
  3. Add the rest of the icing sugar and mixed spice, and mix thoroughly
  4. Once cake has cooled, apply icing with a flat knife or spatula
  5. Scatter flaked almonds across the icing"

Thanks Rob!

Rob is based in south London, left-handed and perhaps unhealthily obsessed with cinnamon (which is probably why it's in the recipe above?). He is co-editor of The Frame Loop, a website and podcast dedicated to cultural discussion, interviews and collaboration. Go and check it out - it's great!

*Yes, we know full names are unusual on this blog, but we've decided to waive the anonymity in Rob's case...


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