There is a whole part of cooking that is not far from alchemy, not least when you suddenly go from whipping cream to butter, or from stirring, stirring a mix over the heat to “eek, that’s a lot of cleaning up now all over the stove”.
Those transitions that come up almost between breaths are one of the distinctions I make when assigning spoon ratings to recipes to share here. Something not too hard, with just one alchemic moment, I say is two spoons – like this maple date loaf, which won’t be spoiled by less than perfect method, and if you choose a suitable saucepan, you can avoid the spillover. When it comes to dividing between two spoons and three spoons, though, you’re ready for three spoons when: a) you know to pay attention throughout the process and not take chances; and/or b) you have that magic sense of when the turning points are coming up and know when to pay attention – although this probably gets you rated as four spoons/as good as our mum!
So in preparation for a future post about the legitimate lifestyle choice of having cake for breakfast, I thought I would do an action sequence on the magic moment when dates, water and bicarb soda suddenly do their thing on the way to becoming one of my favourite cakes – maple date loaf. (And yes, so easy to double up on this one, and freeze one for a later date.)