Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wallflower "cake" bars

I owe this one entirely to Julie, of A Finger in Every Pie and her gorgeous recipe for Wallflower Loaf. There are only a few changes from her recipe, plus I didnt bake it in a loaf tin - I used a square cake pan instead. But oh my, what a wonderful end result!

As the lovely Julie says, it's NOT fruitcake - but it's so much better than that, if you ask me. I absolutely love a chewy-nutty texture and this concoction is the very embodiment of that particular combination. It IS sweet, yes, but since I cut the "cake" into small bars, they were perfect for delivering just enough sweetness to alleviate the sugar fix without going over-the-top - and of course the nuts provided a contrast to the sweet taste.

Julie used walnuts in her recipe, and Turkish apricots and medjool dates. I didnt have anything as exotic - just "Tesco's best" seedless dates and tangy dried apricots. I can only imagine how much better Julie's Wallflower Loaf must have tasted, because humble though my ingredients were, they still made for a really wonderful outcome.

Oh, and I didnt use walnuts either - I substituted pecans because I think walnuts taste rather too bitter. Julie had also mentioned that the cake tends to burn easily, so I was extra careful with it right from the start (I have an unfortunate tendency to over-bake things). I started baking the cake at about 170C and after 30 minutes or so, I lowered the temperature another 10 degrees. The end result was near perfect. I didnt add any cinnamon or nutmeg, but the spices were barely missed, the bars were so addictively good!

Gotta say it again - thanks to Julie for a gorgeous, EASY recipe!

Recipe for:
Wallflower "cake" bars


1-1/2 cups seedless dates, cut in half
2 cups dried apricots, cut in half
1-1/2 to 2 cups pecans, broken in half
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup wildflower honey (I used orange blossom honey)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Grated zest of 1 orange


1. Line a 6" or 7" square cake pan and line with parchment paper. Spray lightly with oil.

2. Combine the dried fruits and nuts together.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

4. In another large bowl, beat the honey, eggs, vanilla and orange zest together.

5. Add the flour to the beaten egg and honey mix to make a thick batter.

6. Add the chopped dried fruits and nuts to the batter and stir till they are thinly coated. It will look like there is way too little batter, but like Julia said, it rises up around the fruits and nuts JUST right.

7. Pour the mixture into a 6" square baking pan that has been lined with silicone paper and press down lightly.

8. Put the pan into the oven at 170C and let the cake bake for 30 minutes or so. Then lower the heat by 10 degrees and let it cook till a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

9. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before slicing it into bars.


Anonymous said...

Hi Parna, I made this with all-purpose flour - which I guess is maida. I'm pretty sure the recipe will work just as well with atta - as long as it's not coarse wholemeal flour.

Anonymous said...

hi shammi,

this looks too good. can u tell me what orange zest is. also can i substitute dabur honey for wildflower honey. do we need both baking powder and baking soda. i generally use only baking powder

Anonymous said...

Hi Rama,

Orange zest is just grated orange peel (without the white inside bit).

I'm sure you can substitute any plain honey for the wildflower or orange blossom honey... I have 2-3 kinds of honey but frankly I cant tell the difference between them :)

About whether you need both baking powder and baking soda in this recipe... I would say go with both, because that's what I did. The original recipe of Julie's also specified both to be used.

Good luck with the recipe - it's so easy and yummy, I'm sure it will come out great!

Mika said...

I must, must try this! What a lovely pic-looks beautifully layered...

Anonymous said...

Fabulous Shammi!
Becoming quite a fan of your blog!
I am definitely trying this out this weekend :)

Anonymous said...

That's just fabulous, Shammi. One or two slices you are filled kind of recipe,:) I like it.

Anonymous said...

One or two slices for someone without a sweet tooth, Indira :) They're really addictive!

Anonymous said...


i couldnt get orange zest in safeway or albertsons. Can you suggest a place where I can get it?


Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous,

I dont think you can buy orange zest as such... but you dont have to! All you need are oranges and a regular grater. The smaller the grating teeth, the better. Or you can get a little tool (called a zester) with which you can scrape off the outer orange coloured peel.

You can see a pic of a citrus zester here: