You know those simple, homey cakes you can't walk by without cutting just another "little" sliver from--this is one of those, guys! Moist, sweet but not overly so, it falls somewhere between a dense brownie and a quick bread. It's not a traditional holiday offering, but I'm thinking it should be. Yup, Dates+Chocolate=Holiday Happiness. Time to start a new tradition!!
Now, before I get to this wonderful cake, how do you like the new look of the blog? My webmaster (aka Simon, my son home from school with a bit of time on his hands) did a little redesign and I'd love to know what you think. Clear? Confusing? Love to hear your thoughts!
Now back to the cake. Do you make a lot of baked goods with dates? Other than a date-nut bread I tried years ago, this makes only my second attempt and I can unequivocally tell you that I will definitely be making more date-filled goodies. They're so sweet and chewy! Love 'em!
And this cake! It comes together quickly and every bite is full of nutty, chewy, chocolate-y goodness! Wish I had more time to rhapsodize on how much I adore this simple little confection, but with all my kids home and the holidays and a kitchen redesign in the planning stages (yup, it;s finally happening!!) my time is not my own!! But everyone's probably feeling that way, right? So I'll just leave you with something short and sweet: MAKE THIS CAKE!! (subtle, huh?)
Chocolate Date-Nut Snackin' Cake
Makes about 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes; Bake Time: 45 minutes
- 6 ounces pitted dates (3/4 cup)--I used Medjool
- 1/3 teaspoon baking soda (use a teaspoon to measure it out and cut away 2/3)
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
- 1 ounce semisweet chocolate
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus additional melted butter for greasing the pan
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup sifted, unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1. Make sure the rack is centered in the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Turn an 8x8-inch pan upside down and center a piece of aluminum foil over it. Turn the pan right side up and gently press the foil into the pan without tearing it. Use a pastry brush to brush some melted butter all over the foil, especially the corners and set the pan aside.
2. Finely chop the dates. Place them in a small bowl, sprinkle the baking soda over the top and add the boiling water. Mix together well and set aside.
3. Place both chocolates in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water but make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until melted and remove the bowl from the heat. Let cool a bit.
4. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter. Then add the salt, sugar and vanilla and beat well. Add the egg and mix well and then scrape in the melted chocolate and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary. On low speed add about half the flour, then the sour cream and then the rest of the flour, scraping the bowl down with the spatula and beating only until smooth after each addition,
5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the dates, including the liquid and the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
6. Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Then cover it with another rack, invert it, remove the pan and the foil and cover with the rack and invert again so that the cake is right side up. Let cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.
Note: Recipe adapted from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts by Maida Heatter.