The heirloom recipe index - Date Cake
June 21st, 2010
06:00 PM ET
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The Heirloom Recipe Index exists to make your Grandma (or great uncle, or second cousin on your mother's side) a superstar and preserve their kitchen legacy.

A recipe has the ability to take the taste buds on a journey: one forkful can transport an eater as far away as Kandy, Sri Lanka, for a slice of Shari Atukorala's mother’s date cake.

Shari's mother baked date cake every weekend for tea. She also served the gooey delight, similar in texture to sticky toffee pudding, during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year each April.

Now, Shari is the guardian of her mother’s battered and splattered recipe book – still caked with flour and vanilla extract of date cakes past.

“My fondest memory of eating the date cake is as soon as she took it out of the oven. I liked to eat it hot - sitting in the pantry chair and jabbering to her non-stop,” Atukorala recalls.

Date Cake
1 1/2 cups flour, leveled
1 cup dates, chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 level teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup ginger preserves, candied citrus peel and assorted nuts

Soak dates in boiling water (or tea) with the margarine and baking soda for 1 hour. Beat together the egg and sugar (my mother does not mention the egg in the ingredient list), mix in the soaked dates and add the nuts, citrus peel and ginger preserves. Add in the flour, mix well. Pour the batter into a cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour in a moderate oven - 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Editor's Note: The egg that is not mentioned in the ingredient list could be a classic example of a "less-ipe:" a recipe that "accidentally" leaves out one key ingredient or ratio. That way, nothing will ever taste as good as the original.)

Want to celebrate your family's unique culinary heritage and honor your loved ones by sharing their best dishes with the world? Scan or photograph a handwritten, heirloom family recipe (the more stained and well-loved-looking, the better) and upload it via iReport, along with a story about the person who brought it into your life and a memory of enjoying it with relatives or friends. A picture of the finished dish is nice but not required.

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Filed under: Family Recipe Index • Make • Recipes

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. sugar daddy


    September 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  2. Melani Armendariz

    Excellent website. Plenty of helpful info here. I¡¦m sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you on your sweat!

    April 10, 2011 at 6:09 am |
  3. Hayden Bennett

    i love to eat cakes and bake them too that is why i am always on the lookout for cake recipes;~;

    September 30, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  4. Charlotte Hughes

    Cake recipes are the specialty of my best friend, my favorite ones are those exotic fruit cakes"~:

    August 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  5. DJW

    When do you add the flour?

    June 23, 2010 at 9:45 am |
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