150g pitted dates, roughly chopped
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ cup milk
1 free-range egg
50g butter, melted, plus extra 50g, chopped
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 cups brown sugar
1½ cups self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 ripe banana, mashed
Cocoa powder, to dust
Double cream, to serve
Walnuts, roughly chopped, to serve
Put dates and bicarb in a small bowl. Pour over ½ cup of boiling water and set aside for 30 minutes to soften.
Put milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla in a large jug. Whisk to combine, then whisk in ½ of the sugar. Sift flour and spice into a large bowl. Make a well in centre, then pour in milk mixture. Whisk until smooth. Mash date mixture with a fork, then stir into batter, along with banana. Pour batter into the bowl of a 5L slow cooker.
Sprinkle remaining sugar over top, then scatter over extra chopped butter. Gently pour over 3 cups of boiling water. Place bowl in appliance and cover with lid. Cook on high setting for 2 hours 15 minutes or until cake is firm. Remove lid and stand for 10 minutes before dusting with cocoa. Serve with cream and walnuts.