I should start by telling you that this cake is moist, rich and delicious. Because of the ingredients, though, it is one of the ugliest cakes you may ever see. Hence, the food coloring in the glazed topping, which doesn’t really look all that great, either.
Now, before you get all excited and thinking that this cake is special for having your date over for a home-cooked, gourmet meal, know that “date” refers to the fruit. That said, making it would be a great way to impress that special someone.
The recipe came to me via a friend who is a member of the local Lotus car club—he and his wife are total foodies. They, in turn, found it in one of their cookbooks: “The Arab Table: Recipes and Culinary Traditions,” by May S. Bsisu.
It’s hard to stress just how good of a cake this is—all-natural ingredients, fruit in it (dates) and the perfect texture. It’s actually pretty easy to make. I am certainly no baker, so it really must be easy.
If you make or plan to make it, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
What you need:
For the cake:
- .5 lbs Medjool dates—pitted and coarsely chopped
- 7T unsalted butter—softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1.75 cups all-purpose flour
- 1t baking powder
- 1t baking soda
- 1t vanilla extract
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
For the topping:
- .75 cups light brown sugar
- 6T unsalted butter
- 5T heavy cream
- Food coloring?
What to do:
- Place the chopped dates in a heat-resistant bowl. Bring a cup of water to a boil, pour it over the dates and let them soak for 10 minutes—do not drain.
- Preheat the oven to 375 and coat a 7 x 11 baking dish with butter.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer.
- Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl and set aside.
- Add the baking soda and vanilla to the dates and water.
- With a mixer on medium, add the egg and one third of the flour to the creamed butter and beat until incorporated. Gradually add the remaining flour and beat until it is mixed into the batter.
- Add the dates/water mixture and beat until well blended.
- Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake until the cake springs back when tapped with a finger or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean—about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and poke holes all over the surface of the cake with a fork.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Prepare the topping: Combine the brown sugar, butter and cream in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until it bubbles slightly.
- Pour the sauce over the cake and put the cake under the broiler until the surface starts to bubble—about 30 seconds. Immediately remove the cake from the broiler.
Can be served warm or at room temperature.
We haven’t made this in a while. Now I’m hungry for it!
I’m generally a terrible dessert maker, so this recipe always saves the day. And to think that you introduced me to it almost exactly 7 years ago!