Friday, September 18, 2009

Geraldine's Chocolate-Date Cake

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


Cooking Spray
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

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!!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake on Two Peas and Their Pod

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


Maria said...

The cake looks wonderful! I have to make this one!

Jennifer Jo said...

Lucky you, getting to be a part of the tour!

Pretty cake, too!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Well, I am the definition of a timid baker, so this looks like it might be the book for me. (Any cake leftovers? I'd be willing to help with that.)

Ingrid_3Bs said...

It has been awhile since there was cake at UtHC. I'll forgive you as there has still been a yummy run of food.

RecipeGirl said...

I'm glad you made this one- it was the very one that I also wanted to make!! Looks fab.

Terrie said...

This cake was EXCELLENT. I was tempted to pig out, but settled for a 'second piece' which was just a sliver. This cake will tempt any self-control you think you might have. YUM!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

That sounds like a great cookbook. Love what you made. I like the mix of dates & chocolate. I usually make a warm caramel sauce to go with it.

Peabody said...

Oh, that turned out lovely. I had my eye on that one, but had no dates.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

This looks great! I love the flavor combination:)

Barbara said...

I keep hearing about this cookbook and now I see why! It's a dream of a cake!

Melissa said...

That cake looks amazing. I've heard many good things about this book.

PS-still can't get over the beef lettuce wraps. I just told my husband that I want them again this week!

Hilary said...

Dates and chocolate - great combo. I'm reading about this cookbook all over the blogosphere and it sounds wonderful.

Unknown said...

Looks like a great cake :) I'm really liking the book, from what I've gathered from all you people doing the tour! May get it soon :)

kiss my spatula said...

oh, i love dates - and combined with a cake??!! heaven! looks just wonderful!

Emily said...

Gorgeous cake! I love dates and I love chocolate, so I know I would like this. And yes, I want more desserts from you!

Kelsey B. said...

Aimee, how do I join the tour? I would love to bake-a-long with you!

Cooking CatZ said...

I would like to know where did you or can you find an 6-inch round cake pan in Montreal?
Thank you

Megan at Simple Kids said...

Something DIVINE has happened here. YUM.

Julie said...

DAMN. That cake looks right up my alley! I love the dense, intensely chocolate, not-too-sweet ones. Great idea for a book tour, too!

kickpleat said...

This cake really does look decadent and I love the addition of the prunes. Yum.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

That cake called to me, too. I'm so glad you made it. Now it will niggle at me until I go get some dates and try it too. Isn't this a fun book?

Shelby said...

I made this cake also and totally agree - it gets better after it sits. Grumpy loved this and he actually ate almost the whole thing by himself!

A. said...

sigh... now I really want cake... and I already had apple crisp and blondies today...

Brandy said...

My mouth is watering~YUMMY! Also I would love to feature your blog on The LOVELY List. Email me if interested.
xoxo Brandy

tim stewart said...

nice cake i live in prince george did you live here too


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