Tartine Baking Project: #38 Banana-Date Tea Cake

I’ve never used dates for any baking quest.  Come to think of it, I don’t even think I’ve had dates before.  Maybe they’ve been inadvertently smuggled into a muffin or some sort of quick bread without my knowledge, but I stand by my aforementioned statement: I’ve never, knowingly, eaten a date.  I found these dates in the bulk section at our local co-op.  I felt like I was bagging cockroaches or some moth larvae, and it just felt wrong.  They’re just not very appetizing.  Turns out, they’re delicious!

My new measuring cups are perfect for measuring stuff like dates. 

I love bananas.  I will never be sick of them, and it will never not be shocking to hear that people don’t like bananas.  This just blows my mind, although I’m not sure why.  Baking with bananas in the winter months quite often means I am constantly confronted with banana haters.  Don’t get me wrong – there are many things I don’t like, so I am okay with people not liking bananas.  I never knew bananas were so controversial.  Just walk around the street, look people in the eyes, and know that they probably secretly hate bananas.

Those sneaky fingers! 

We’ve hit a crossroads in the nap world.  I used to bake while Jack napped in the afternoon.  He’s at this point where he fights a nap with all his toddler power, but he still sort of needs the nap.  There is some serious multitasking happening as I juggle baking, taking photos, and keeping the little guy busy.  While this tea cake should be quick and easy to whip up, it took double the time. Just like Jack snuck his way into my brioche video, he did the same thing as I was taking this shot.  He’s a little ninja!  I really didn’t hear him coming!  Come to find out, he loves dates.

It bakes for about an hour, and I found myself just standing in the kitchen letting the aroma of the tea cake work its magic.  I haven’t met a tea cake I don’t like.  The last step, right before it goes in the oven, is to sprinkle a layer of sugar on top.  The crunchy layer of sugary bananas on top of this tea cake is the sort of thing I day dream about.  You take a bite and nothing else matters in the world.  As I was trying to convince Jack at 3 am that it was in fact still nighttime, I drowsily just thought about the banana-date tea cake that I was going to eat for breakfast, and all was (almost) right in the world.

You need a go-to dessert that is quick, simple and a real crowd pleaser?  Two words: Tea cake.  Your friends may lift you on their shoulders like you’re some sort of hero.