This has been a family favorite dating back as long ago as the collective memory of the current descendants can recall. Made two loaves at a time, it makes great gifts during the holidays or at any time. This cake is an excellent keeper as it is rich with dates, walnuts, orange zest and fresh-squeezed juice. Our Christmas gift to all.
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter or half & half butter and lard
1 C sour milk
1 tsp. soda
2 C flour
1 C nut meats, coarsley chopped
1 C dates, chopped fine
grated rind of two oranges, juice from oranges
Cream butter and sugar well; add eggs one at a time. Fold in orange zest (a box grater works to grate orange rind in lieu of a zester). Measure flour and soda in separate bowl, mix well (add 1/2 tsp of salt if using unsalted butter). Add 1/2 flour mixture with 1/2 of sour milk and beat; add remaining flour and milk — beat. Fold in dates and nuts, mix well. NOTE: add 1 tsp vinegar to 1 C milk to create sour milk if none is on hand. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan (spray with Pam for baking, douse with flour – this step is important to get cake to release easily). While cake bakes, mix 1/2 C sugar with orange juice from two oranges. Ladle over hot cake right out of the oven, let soak in, cool completely before removing from loaf pan, place upside down on rack. Drizzle remaining orange juice over bottom of cake. Wrap in cheese cloth or foil and keep in cool place.
Enjoy! Happy Holidays