In case you are not familiar with Panforte, it’s a classic Italian Christmas cake made with lots of nuts, dried and candied fruits and lots of sugar. My version is slightly more healthfied as I have only juicy and sweet medal dates without adding any other sweetener. I also added tons of warm and festive spices which makes this cake the perfect Christmas treat to have with a ht cup of chai latte or hot chocolate.
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup spelt flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 tsp of ground clove
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/3 cup sultanas
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup of dried currants
1 cup chopped mixed nuts (I have used a mix of walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts)
Juice of 2 oranges + the the zest of 1
Some maple syrup or agave nectar for brushing the cake
a handful of candied oranges – roughly chopped
Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Roughly chop the dates and place them into a pan with the juice of the 2 oranges. Cook the dates gently for 10 minutes until soft. With a fork roughly mash them up into a paste. Add all the dried fruits, nuts, spices and the zest of the orange Mix everything together. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour (through a sieve) to avoid any lumps. You should have quite a sticky and thick mixture, of you find it too dry add a splash of water.
Once everything is well combined, pour the mixture into a greased cake tin. If you use a silicone mould you don’t need to grease it. Spread the cake batter with a spatula.
Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes hour. Halfway through the baking time, cover the top of the cake with some foil to prevent the top from burning.
Once the cake is ready, remove from the oven and let it cool down completely in the tin for at least 1 hour.
Before serving, brush the cake with some maple syrup and sprinkle with the candied orange (optional).