When I think of Christmas cake, I think of a square, fruit ladened dense cake that is best served in thin slices.  So I was excited to find some departures to the cake of my childhood whilst exploring sweet festive traditions from Finland.

Firstly, the hugely popular spice cake, maustekakku and also a date flavoured cake, taatelikakku.  Both seemed to be light, fragrant and curiously bundt shaped.  Far different from my Christmas cake memories.

For the purposes of my experimentation this month, I selected to bake up the taatelikakku, as in my mind, it was a slightly more unusual option.  I hunted down a recipe at Martat and with Google Translate at the ready, was able to pull together a set of ingredients and directions.  (Phew!)

This is a wonderfully light yet moist cake.  The addition of coffee to the mixture adds a lovely depth of flavour against the sweetness of the dates.  And in my opinion, this cake should not be reserved just for Christmas.  It is simply too delicious!

{ Taatelikakku :: Finnish Christmas date cake } Recipe adapted from The Martha Organisation

* Ingredients *
90ml water
130g dates (1 cup)
110g caster sugar
85g butter
½  teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cold coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

* Directions *
Preheat the oven to 170C.  Prepare a 4-cup bundt tin and set aside.  Mix the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.  Set aside.  Melt the butter and set aside.  In a small saucepan, heat the water, dates and sugar until the dates start to soften and the sugar dissolve.  Add the baking soda towards the end and set aside. Add the coffee and the vanilla to the mixture to cool slightly.  Then add the egg and stir to combine.  Finally, add in the flour until incorporated.  Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and bake for 30-35 minutes.