Monday, December 22, 2008

Dad's 82nd Birthday

Today my Dad celebrated his 82nd birthday. He has decided to grow a beard because it is too hard for him to see in the mirror to shave and he also has a bit of a balance problem. Bill and I have both said we would shave him if he wanted to be shaved, but thank goodness he said "No". He is sporting about 6 weeks of growth and has passed the itching stage, so I think it is there to stay. I like beards, so his is fine with me.

I made Dad his favorite Date Nut Cake. I wish I had bought the dates before yesterday, but I didn't. So I was up early this morning making the cake. I wanted it to sit as long as it could, because it gets better with age. I had a half piece at dinner. It was not as good as it will be tomorrow, but it was good. This recipe was a favorite of my Grandmother's and it is really easy to make. (Today the dates are already pitted and dusted with flour so they are not sticky. I hated pitting the dates when I was little as my hands would get sooooooo sticky.)

Here is the recipe.

Grandma Smith's Datenut Cake

1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped dates
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place dates in a small bowl. Sprinkle with baking soda and pour boiling water over the dates and soda. Set aside to cool. In mixing bowl cream sugar and shortening, I mix by hand, but you can use a mixer. Add eggs then alternate flour and baking powder with the date mixture stirring after each addition. Add vanilla and chopped nuts. This is a very thick mixture.

Grease and flour two loaf pans then put half of the mixture into each pan. Place in oven and bake about 45 minute. Check to see if each loaf is done by sticking a wooden toothpick into the center. The loaf is done if toothpick come out clean. Turn each loaf out onto cooling rack and cool for at least 1/2 hour. Wrap each loaf well or place in plastic bag and seal. I freeze one for later and we eat one.

Dad likes his with whipping cream. I like mine plain or with cream cheese. I also enjoy just butter. A sandwich made with date nut cake and cream cheese served with a cup of hot tea is one of my favorites this time of year!


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