What makes the best cake for outdoor swimming?
Nothing stimulates a more feverish debate around the lido or at the lakeside than this provocative question.
The perfect bake, in the humble opinion of this author, depends upon the four Ts:
1. Texture: your cake must be easy to slice into firm, discrete slices. At the same time it needs to be transportable. Nothing worse than opening the tin to discover that your masterpiece has reverted to a mushy mash-up that works better with a spoon than fingers.
2. Taste: Not too sweet, not too savoury. We’re thinking the perfect balance of flavours to go with a strong cup of coffee (home made thermos or from a swanky lido cafe depending on location – or budget). Dried but juicy fruit is a favourite ingredient of ours (see below).
3. Time-to-bake: We agree that the journey can be more important than the destination, especially when trekking to the best outdoor swimming spots. But when it comes to recipes, we want to have our cake and eat it. In other words, something special for minimum effort.
4. Temptation: Beauty is only skin deep. That said, we still like our patisserie to perform for the table. A splash of icing, a flash of colourful piping or a layer of chocolate – when it comes to the ideal post-swim ingestion, first impressions count.
With all this in mind, here’s one of our favourite recipes. We’d never call it perfect – after all what would be the point if you had no reason to keep on experimenting in the kitchen. But it’s still pretty tasty. We think you’ll love it.
This fruity favourite never fails to delight our local swimming crew. It’s pretty straightforward, although you’ll need a tiny bit of patience with the melted chocolate at the end. But it’s worth it!
1 cup oats
1 cup roughly chopped nuts
1 cup chopped medjool dates (an absolute must for juiciness)
1-2 tbsp plain flour
- In a pan melt 1 cup butter with 3/4 cup sugar + 1tbsp golden syrup + 1 large pinch salt.
- Pour over dry mix, and stir until everything is glistening and well coated in butter-sugar mix.
- Bake at 180C in parchment lined tin for 25 mins.
- Pour over melted chocolate while still hot.
- Layer on second chocolate flavour after five minutes.
- Stir top for marbled effect another three minutes – (a combination of white and dark chocolate works well)
- Leave to cool until chocolate is hard.
You can play around with other kinds of juicy dried fruits, desiccated coconut, poppy seeds and salted peanuts – to name a few.
What do you reckon? If you’ve got a favourite recipe, the kind of cake that sets hearts and tongues a-flutter when you open the tin, let us know and we’ll share next time round – giving you the credit for your excellent contribution of course.