• Method

A moist and moreish tray bake that can also be enjoyed as a pudding with custard or ice cream.

Makes a tray 18cm x 30cm (7in x 12in).

  1. Heat the oven to 160C (140C fan) 325F, Gas 3. Oil the baking tray.
  2. Put the chopped dates and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and cover with a cup of boiling water.
  3. Cream the sugar and butter till light then beat in the egg and vanilla essence.
  4. Stir in the flour and oats along with the soaked dates including the water.
  5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes till risen and firm and the point of a skewer inserted in the middle comes out cleanly. Cool in the tin.
  6. Meanwhile make the topping by melting the ingredients together.
  7. Keep stirring and simmer 3 or 4 minutes then pour over the warm cake.
  8. Leave to set and cool then cut and enjoy.

Liz Ashworth is a Scottish food writer and food product developer, who has a particular interest in using and promoting local products.

She is the author of Teach the Bairns, a pioneering series of traditional Scottish cookery books for beginners of all ages, and writes food columns in various publications, and coordinates the food programme at the annual Orkney International Science Festival. Orkney Spirit illustrated by Selena Kuzman was published in 2010 to celebrate her love of and family connection with the Orkney islands.

Liz’s other books include The Book of Bere, The Chain Bridge Honey Bible, The William Shearer Tattie Bible and her latest title, The Scottish Baking Bible, published by Birlinn which is available now.

The book features 50 recipes from across Scotland arranged by theme – Bannocks, Breads and Scones; Biscuits; Tarts and Traybakes; and Cakes and Wee Fancies.

All are graded according to the level of complexity, although none are difficult, making it ideal for bakers of all abilities to explore this glorious part of Scotland’s culinary heritage.

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