Let's face it.
When it comes down to the offer of a slice of Christmas cake, how many of us really only take a slice JUST for the icing and marzipan.....!?
Yes fruit cake can be delicious but in reality, not that many people are fans of fruit cake on Christmas day.
And if this is the case for your family too, here's a perfect alternative. A sticky, treacly coffee, date and walnut cake.
It's not quite as dense and rich as a fruit cake, which makes it the perfect thing for tea whilst you're watching the Christmas TV and recovering from that massive Christmas dinner!
I've left mine plain but you could decorate it with a simple coffee icing, buttercream or date and coffee syrup.
250ml hot strong coffee
150g pitted soft dates
1tsp good quality vanilla paste
125g unsalted butter
200g soft light brown sugar
225g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
50g chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan).
Add the dates to a jug and pour over the hot coffee and vanilla. Leave the dates and coffee to sit for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl with an electric whisk. Gradually whisk in the eggs until you have a smooth mixture.
In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, baking powder and spices.
Drain the dates but keep the coffee mixture, adding it to the butter, sugar and eggs. Whisk again, adding a little flour if the mixture looks like it might curdle.
Fold in the rest of the flour and spices with a large metal spoon. Then finely chop the soaked dates and add to the cake mixture along with the chopped walnut pieces. Stir the mixture again until everything is incorporated and you have a smooth glossy cake batter.
Pour into either a greased and lined loaf tin or two circular cake tins.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a skewer, when inserted into the cake, comes out clean.