Anyhoo, I was cleaning the fridge the other day and found a pack of dates which were obviously leftover from something I was trying to make I suppose last year. It took me a while to finally settle down to a recipe, because as much as I love sticky date pudding, my attempts to replicate it at home, has been well awful. A date cake however sounded super doable. My friend Arjun's bakery does a nice date and walnut cake and I thought I could try a variation of the same. When I checked my freezer for walnuts, I realised I'd run out, so that meant a trip to the market.
I didn't want to go. It was just too cold. So I decided to make do with whatever I had at home. Google reminded me I had an Ina Garten book which had a Sticky toffee date cake. It sounded light and yummy, and sooo quick to make. Plus I'd got these really cute mini cake pan which I'd been dying to try. I have just halved the recipe and done nothing else
The toffee sauce doesn't really need alcohol, I just wanted to make it seem slightly more adult for myself. I'm glad I did. The whole combination works super well. The cake isn't very sweet so the toffee sauce is the perfect accompaniment.
For the cake:
200 grams dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
100 gram butter, at room temperature
3 tblsp granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 plus 2 tblsp cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 tablespoons baking powder
For the sauce:
50 grams butter
½ cuplight brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons Jack Daniels
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the pans
2. Place the dates in a deep saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to boil, stirring a little to break up the dates. Allow to simmer 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the baking soda (it will bubble up!). Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla, scraping down the mixing bowl. (It may look curdled.) Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer still on low, slowly add it to the batter. With the mixer on low, add the hot date mixture in two batches to the batter, scraping down the bowl. The batter will be runny but don't worry! Stir in the baking powder, which will also bubble up. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
4. Meanwhile, combine the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the bourbon and vanilla and pour into a 2-cup heat-proof glass measuring cup. Set aside.
5. As soon as the cake is done, poke holes all over it with a toothpick. Pour three-quarters of the sauce evenly over the cake while still warm and allow it to soak in for 30 minutes. Turn the cake out bottom side up onto a flat serving plate and pour the remaining sauce on top. Cool completely.
6. Serve at room temperature with sweetened whipped cream.
Sending this to Alphabakes for things beginning with the letter D. I think Dates should make the cut :). It's hosted alternately by More than Occasional Baker and Caroline from Caroline Makes.