By Susan Pagani, Communications Director
Why do we love this cake? If you ask Chef Cassie and Volunteer Extraordinaire Lisa, it’s because it is tender, spongy and delicious, and as everyone knows, dates are so good for you they cancel out every ounce of sugar and butter.
In all seriousness, dates add a wonderful sweetness and moisture to this cake, much like a banana or applesauce will in baked goods. And they pack a nutritional wallop with antioxidants, iron, calcium and dietary fiber, so you can have your cake and feel healthy about it, too.
Dates and chocolate are a classic combination in Middle Eastern cooking — and a tasty one, as this cake demonstrates. We think it goes down marvelously with a cup of coffee and highly recommend eating a slice at breakfast.
Date Cake with Chocolate Icing
1 cup (6 oz.) chopped dates
1 cup hot water
1 3/4 cup flour
3 tbsp. cocoa unsweetened
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter (at room temp.)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 lg. eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and then:
1. Grease two 8-inch layer cake pans or one 9×13-inch pan. If using layer pans, cut and grease wax paper and line pans. You can also fill a muffin pan with liners and make cupcakes by scooping each liner 2/3 full of batter.
2. Put dates in small bowl and cover them with hot water. Set aside in refrigerator to cool.
3. Mix flour, cocoa and soda. Set aside.
4. In large bowl mix butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time until well blended. 5. Stir in flour mixture alternately with dates and water (now somewhat cool/not boiling) until well blended. Fold in chips.
6. Spread the batter in prepared pans. Bake for 25-40 minutes — depending on if you are making cake or cupcakes — or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
Chocolate Ganache Icing:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. Light-Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Bean Extract
1. Heat the cream in medium saucepan until just simmering; remove from heat.
2. Add chocolate chips, corn syrup (for shine) and vanilla bean paste and stir until melted.
3. Drizzle icing onto the cake and spread with an icing spatula or dip tops of cupcakes into the warm chocolate ganache mixture. Let set in the fridge – enjoy!