THB #43: Chocolate-Topped Date Cake

It’s The Home Bakers 43rd bake – a delicious Chocolate-Topped Date Cake. The Home Bakers is a monthly bake organised by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours where all members bake through the recipe book Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas.

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It’s my turn once again to host a bake with The Home Bakers group. When I chose this recipe I selected it because the name appealed to me but I did not notice that the recipe called for a 9-inch spring-form pan, which surprisingly, I do not own. As a baker you would think I have all sizes of spring-form pans but for some unknown reason I do not own a 9-inch pan. The reason why this recipe calls for a spring-form pan is because of the topping that is sprinkled over the batter before baking and thereafter just removing the sides of the pan after it is baked.

So what to do?

I was too lazy to half the recipe or double the recipe to fit the spring-form pans I have. Instead I baked the cake in a 9-inch tube pan and changed the topping.

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Chocolate-Topped Date Cake

(Makes one 9-inch cake, serves 12)

Ingredients for batter

8 ounces dates, pitted and finely sliced (1 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup boiling water

6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (100 grams)

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1  & 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate wafers or chocolate chips

Ingredients for topping

1/2 cup (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate wafers or chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (325 Fahrenheit). Butter and flour a 9-inch spring-form pan. Put the dates in a small bowl, sprinkle with the baking sod and pour the boiling water over. Let stand until cooled to room temperature.

In  large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend. Beat the flour mixture into the creamed mixture alternately with the date and water mixture in two increments, mixing until blended. Stir in the 1/2 cup chocolate wafers or chips.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. For the topping, scatter the chocolate wafers or chips evenly over the batter. Toss the nuts with the 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and the cocoa and sprinkle evenly over the chocolate.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cake is set and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out moist. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before removing the sides. Cut into wedges to serve.

My changes to the topping

1/2 cup (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate wafers or chocolate chips

1/3 cup cream

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

My topping method

Heat the cream in a small sauce pan till it comes to a simmer but not boiling. Pour over chocolate chips in a bowl, swirl the bowl around to ensure all chocolate chips are coated in the cream. Cover the bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes stir the chocolate ganache with a spatula and let it cool slightly but not completely as it will become a thick chocolate ganache. If this happens then microwave it slowly to get it back to a pourable consistency.

In the mean time chop the walnuts and mix it together with the almonds and cocoa powder.

Once the cake has cooled, pour the chocolate ganache over the cake and sprinkle immediately with the nut mixture.

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Like I mentioned before I baked this cake in a 9-inch tube pan or bundt pan and therefore changed the topping as I had to turn the cake out.

The cake came out beautiful, the dates gave it a lovely even colour all around and you can see the chocolate chips peeking through.

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Just look at the chocolate – looks so decadent!

I didn’t want to coat the entire cake with chocolate as it looks so appealing to see some of the naked cake under the flowing chocolate..

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I baked this cake for a ladies lunch and everyone loved it. They were my guinea pigs and one friend has already requested it for Christmas.

It was that good!

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Be sure to sprinkle the nut mixture before the chocolate sets so that they stick to the chocolate.

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This Chocolate-Topped Date Cake is another winning bake. The cake is very moist and with every bite you get a burst of date and chocolate. The bitter-sweet chocolate chips gives the cake a lovely balance in sweetness and the nut topping is a crunchy treat – who doesn’t love chocolate and nuts?

Please be sure to check out how my fellow Home Bakers went with this bake.

The Home Bakers

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