Thursday, June 03, 2010

Warm Date Cake...

The first time I heard of "Warm Date Cake" was at a cute little place in Brooklyn called, Moto. At first I thought it was a dessert being marketed towards couples. It hadn't really clicked that they were actually using real dates in the cake as an ingredient.

I am a far, far away from Brooklyn now. Swinging by the old neighborhood joint isn't quite as convenient as it used to be. So I decided to deconstruct and create my own version of the cake. I was really charmed by the richness and nutty sweetness the dates impart. My version came out very different from the one you'll find at Moto, but I'm pleased with the result. I modified a regular yellow cake mix recipe, by adding pulverized dates, homemade vanilla extract, ground hazelnuts and sweetened coconut flakes. Since I added a lot of "extras" to the cake, I also added an extra egg to the recipe and a tablespoon more of sunflower seed oil. This helps keep all the inclusions thoroughly dispersed and not sunk to the bottom of the pan. The extra oil also helps lift the cake out without chunks of it coming loose and sticking to the pan.

When the cake was freshly yanked from the oven, I used a paper towel and a hot-pad to press the golden dome of the cake top down. In most recipes, it's optimal to have a light and airy cake and this "cake top" is sliced off instead of pressed down so that it'll be easier to stack or so that it sits flat on platter. But for this cake, I wanted it to be super dense.

To serve, I warm the cake up (it makes it super moist) and drizzle a Brown Sugar Butter Toffee Sauce. (I add a spoonful of maple syrup to the sauce to round out the sweetness and add another subtle layer of flavor. I prefer Grade B or C organic maple syrup if it's available.) The cake is already pretty sweet, so it only needs a little. A nice substitution for the toffee sauce is a caramel sauce finished with the lightest sprinkle of sea salt. The salt adds a nice little crunch and an unexpected contrast to the sweetness of the cake that brings out the other flavors. (Of course, I add a spoonful of Grade B or C organic maple syrup to this sauce as well.) Fresh whipped cream is also quite nice and melts into the warm cake, creating a soppy bit of goodness!

14 comments:

Barbara Bechtel said...

wherever do you find grade c or d? the darkest i can find retail is b....ergh. i miss pa....but only sometimes!

Lori Michaud said...

Yum-O!!!

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Barbara!

I would suggest contacting the producers directly. Apparently last year's harvest wasn't so good, so it's effecting the quantity now, but sometimes the farmers are willing to part with some of the darker stuff if you're really nice. I also used to find Grade C at the Food Co-Op in Park Slope in Brooklyn. Also, if you can't get it yourself from the source, try asking your local mom and pop place to make an order for you. We've got a great little shop called, The Cheese House and the owner will often times special order things if you ask her to.

SummersStudio said...

This sounds a lot like a date 'pudding' we often had when we lived in Australia. It's served warm with a caramel sauce with a heavenly full cream base. Yummy! It's one dessert that even I can make with success.

Guido said...

yum yum, hmmmm . . a cake for lost souls ;) , ;) hello andrew . . wellcome to my blog .. i hope i have a bit of time to visit your books ;) . . .
regards
guido

Barbara Bechtel said...

omg, andrew! do you live near the cheese house? that is only 30 minutes from my mom's house! i have a childhood friend whose family still brews syrup so i'll have to check with her.

kate mckinnon said...

Damn, Andrew. You have me dreaming of a bubinka.

The Paper Princess said...

Andrew, this sounds dee-lish, but people, you're making me hungry!!!

Do you have a full recipe on this you could share?

Ramona
http://create-with-joy.blogspot.com

Greer said...

Come on down ANdrew - have just boiled the billy . . .

Michelle said...

i'm wiping the drool from my desk. This sounds absolutely YUMMY!
Bead Happy!
Michelle

Courtney said...

mmm, mmm, mmm! Sounds heavenly.

Lynn said...

When I was growing up in Fla, there used to be a "date bread" that came in a can -- served warmed with a slice of cream cheese on top.

Jeffrey said...

Andrew, don't be a tease. I NEED the recipe or I will shrival(sp?) up and blow away in sorrow.

Andrew Thornton said...

Ha ha ha! A cookbook is in the works. It won't be done for a LONG, LONG, LONG time, but there I'll divulge all my secret recipes.