Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sticky Date Cake



I've had so many good comments each time I serve sticky date pudding that recently when I wanted to make a surprise birthday cake for two of my best pals, I thought "Why not make it a big cake instead of little cakes?" And why not just take the recipe apart and make it like a sponge cake, beating the butter with the sugar and separating the eggs? A little more work, yes, but the cake might be lighter. Also, the dates will not be as mushed up and fine as in the original recipe which is, em, a piece of cake because it's a one-step recipe: everything goes into the food processor.  This was not an expensive cake to make so I could afford to experiment taking apart and reconstructing the recipe, using the exact amount of ingredients because the original recipe is a fantastic cake. Other than the great taste, what I like about the original recipe is that the quantity of butter is very little (for one recipe: 2 oz/60 gm!) yet the cake is moist. Even cardiologists would eat it.

The outcome: a surprisingly pretty cake that is more moist and slightly sticky (maybe it was slightly underbaked) even without soaking the cake with the butterscotch sauce. The texture was not lighter or fluffier but softer. A total success, according to my friends and family. I was so happy with the feedback that I thought I'd share the recipe straightaway. What are good friends for I say.

The following recipe is the same as the original recipe in my earlier post except I've increased the amount to 1 1/2 times for a round 8"/20 cm cake. Like I said, I've also changed how the cake is made although you can still dump everything in the food processor like in the original recipe.

Two mistakes I  made making this cake: the lining paper was cut too big and the folds of the paper caused the sides of the cake to be holey. Putting the sauce into a plastic bag would give better control when drizzling it. Told you I'm a lazy cook.

Sticky Date Cake
3 oz/90 gm/6 T cold and firm (but not hard) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups pitted dates (korma) 
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 large eggs
 2 1/4 cups self-raising flour 
1 1/2 t bicarb of soda
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 cups water

note: prepare the dates earlier because they need to be heated up and then cooled.

1. Oven @ 180 C. Line the bottoms of two 8"/20 cm  round cake pans with baking paper and grease the sides. Sift the flour with the bicarb of soda. 
 2. Put the dates into a saucepan with the water and when it boils, take the pot off the fire and add the baking soda (it will fizzle). Stir, leave to cool. When cool,  use a hand blender to blend the dates but do not over-blend so that the cake'll have some bits and strands of dates here and there.
3. Beat the butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the yolks one by one, beating until incorporated each time, then add the vanilla, mixing well with a spatula. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with 1/2 t cream of tartar and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks stage.
5. Alternately fold the flour and the dates into the butter batter in 2 or 3 batches until well-combined. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the flour-dates mixture, then fold in the remaining whites and mix quickly. Do not over mix but make sure the batter is well-mixed.
6. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake about 40 to 50 minutes (ovens vary). Check with a wooden skewer plunged into the center of the cake. If it comes out totally clean, the cake is done. Cool (I like to chill them too because the weather is hot) and remove the paper lining when frosting.
7. For a sticky, pudding-like cake, pierce holes in the cake with a skewer and pour 1/2 the butterscotch sauce into the holes. I prefer to spread a layer of whipped dairy cream and drizzle with 2 to 3 spoonfuls of butterscotch sauce and repeat with the next layer. If you put the sauce into a plastic bag, the sauce'll drizzle better and nicer. Chill well before serving.

Butterscotch Sauce 
2 T unsalted butter
1/2 cup less 2 T (or use 1/2 cup if you love sugar) brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 T vanilla extract
large pinch of salt

This recipe is IT. It's absolutely delicious!

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir frequently over low heat, 3 to 5 minutes. When the sugar caramelises, it will bubble, turn more liquid and look like thick sand.

2. Add all the cream and use a whisk to stir once in  a while over medium heat, 7 to 10 minutes, until very smooth. Remove from stove and let cool.

3. Whisk in the vanilla extract and salt, taste and add more vanilla or salt to taste.


Terri said...

Wow, Terri...what a great photo! I love, love, love dates so I will really have to try this one.

Belle said...

hi Terri
do you think i can use dried prunes instead of the dates? If can, do you foresee any other changes i need to make to your recipe?

I cannot find korma dates here but there are other brands (not sure of the quality). Hence i thot dried prunes may work.
MP :)

terri@adailyobsession said...

terri: haha so weird talking another terri. yes you must try this one!

belle: is this mp frm sg? surely you can find dates in the supermarket? don't get the ones from the US. they are expensive. the ones frm the middle east are good, maybe better. it's ramadan so plenty of dates here.

but i think your suggstn of using prune is brilliant! prunes'll work just as well, maybe even better. i prefer prunes to dates actually. n prunes make cakes very moist. try it out n tell me ok. if you are mp frm sg, i've been thinking of u:) hope all's well at your side of the world.

Laura said...

Hi Terri!!
...you're always cooking fabulous food! One day I'll cook a whole dinner with your recipes!!!
Hope you're fine!!

terri@adailyobsession said...

laura: wow, i'm waiting to see what you'll cook:) how's everything? my warmest wishes and hugs to you:)

Anonymous said...

Making this cake now for hubby's birthday. It says to put cream of tartar and baking soda in, just wondering what the measurements are? I did notice the measurements for the bi carb soda.

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