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Rum, Date, and Banana Loaf

This is about as healthy as a loaf cake can be (it’s naturally gluten-free and contains no sugar), yet without sacrificing anything in the taste or texture departments! Polenta is the secret weapon here. Loaded with nuts, fruit, and spices, the rum is but a faint flavor note in the cake which ensures a rounded sweetness. This is a dream come true for a gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or sugar-free diet!

Rum, Date, and Banana Loaf

9 oz. whole, pitted dates (1¾ cups)
2 small (or 1 large) bananas
4 oz. pecans (1 cup), ¾ roughly chopped, ¼ whole
7 oz. raisins (1½ cups)
7 oz. golden raisins (1½ cups)
4 oz. fine polenta (½ cup plus 2 tsp.)
2 tsp. mixed spice
2 tsp. baking powder
3 tbs. dark rum
2 egg whites
a few banana chips and 1 tsp. sugar (optional), to decorate

Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard loaf pan with non-stick baking paper, using a little oil to make it stick.

Put the dates into a small pan with 6 fl. oz. boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the liquid into a measuring jug and put the dates into a food processor. Add the banana and 3 fl. oz. of date liquid, then whiz until smooth. (If there is not enough date liquid, top off with water.) Mix the chopped pecans, dried fruit, polenta, mixed spice, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the date purée and stir to combine.

Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into the cake mixture. Tip into the tin (it will be quite full) and top with the remaining whole pecans, banana chips, and sugar if using. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden and and skewer comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.



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