I've been going through cake withdrawal. I haven't posted a cake recipe in two months. That means I haven't baked a cake in two months. Since June's Pecan-Streusel Coffee Cake there has been soup, salad, salmon and plenty of beef, but precious few sweets, which is odd for me, wouldn't you say? (Thanks for putting up with all the beef, by the way, we're nowhere near finished.) Summer's fresh fruit and berries have provided sufficient distraction and we've eaten crisps and cobblers galore, but with the cooler weather comes a distinct longing for... CAKE!
Fortunately, before I started spazzing from lack of flour, eggs, sugar and butter baked in pleasing proportions, Beth Lipton's (aka CookiePie) brand spanking new cookbook arrived in the mail for me to review. Titled You Made That Dessert? this sizzling cookbook provided ample reason to rev up my Kitchen Aid.
I'm so thrilled Beth chose me to participate in her online book tour. This cookbook was a pleasure to peruse and a breeze to follow. I love it's tag line: "Create Fabulous Treats, Even If You Can Barely Boil Water". I can attest to the clear directions and straightforward steps; they are going to make baking a whole lot easier for the novice.
Since I already had cake on the brain, I thought it would be easy to choose a recipe from Beth's cookbook; however, her stellar collection of twenty or so cakes left me thumbing back and forth for some time before I settled on a recipe that combined two of my favorite ingredients (chocolate & coffee) with a twist --dates.
There were two things I noted while making this cake--well, three actually.
1. The recipe calls for the dates to be chopped in half. Brilliant, because they are going to be tossed in a blender later and pureed with the coffee. Ever encountered a date or olive pit while using your blender? NOT fun. As it so happens, I removed two pits from the 'pitted' dates as I was chopping them.
2. This really is a one-bowl cake, dry ingredients are sifted right on top of the wet. And speaking of sifting...
3. Listen to step 2 of the recipe:
"Sift the dry ingredients by holding the sieve over the bowl and lightly tapping the side with your fingers. If there are any lumps of dry ingredients left after you've finished sifting, rub the back of a spoon over the lumps to press them through the sieve."Are those not clear directions, or what? Beth has carefully outlined each step with such care, they will reassure even the most timid baker. Bravo!
As I had suspected, this cake was even better after sitting overnight. The flavors really had a chance to meld, yet each one still shone through in its own way. Marvelous cake, and @CookiePie--fantastic cookbook! Congratulations!
Geraldine's Chocolate-Date Cake
2 cups pitted dried dates, halved
1-1/4 cups hot strongly brewed coffee
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Method: Preheat the oven to 350F. Mist a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Place the pan on a sheet of parchment, trace the pan with a pencil and cut out the parchment circle. Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment round and mist it with cooking spray. Loosely fill a 2-cup liquid measuring cup with the dates and cover with the hot coffee. Let it sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a flexible spatula and then beat again until the mixture is uniform. Place a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl with the butter mixture and put the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in the sieve. Sift the dry ingredients by holding the sieve over the bowl and lightly tapping the side with your fingers. If there are any lumps of dry ingredients left after you've finished sifting, rub the back of a spoon over the lumps to press them through the sieve. With a flexible spatula, mix the dry ingredients gently into the butter mixture until nearly combined.
Pour the dates and coffee into a blender or food processor and blend to puree the mixture completely. Add the pureed dates to the batter and mix with the same flexible spatula until all the ingredients are combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top evenly with the chocolate chips. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the edges begin to pull away from the side of the pan and the cake springs back when you touch it lightly. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then gently turn the cake out onto the rack to cool further. Serve at room temperature. Cover leftover cake with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Join the You Made That Dessert? Cookbook Food Blog Tour!!
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Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cupcakes on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Cappuccino Biscotti on the Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch
Lime-Glazed Citrus Tea Cake on Sticky, Gooey, Creamy Chewy
Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Bars on Recipe Girl
Banana Snack Cake with Rich Caramel Frosting on Cookie Baker Lynn
PB&J Bars and Coconut Rice Pudding on Eat Me, Delicious