Date Delight

1 cup seedless dates
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 pint whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cherries and mint leaves to decorate

Preheat oven to 350F. Soak dates in water and baking soda for 6 to 8 hours. Cook dates on stove at low temperature, stirring continuously until a dark purple pulp without liquid is left. Cool. Beat oil and sugar well. Add eggs one by one, beating after each addition. Add the cake flour and baking powder slowly. Beat well after each addition. Add the date pulp. Mix well. Add walnuts. Bake until done, about 40 minutes. Decorate with whipped cream, cherries, 4 walnuts and mint leaves.

Serves 8.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana