Monday, March 21, 2011

Cake # 9: Arabian Date Cake

On Sunday night we made Arabian Date Cake. When looking for a well-reviewed English Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe I kept running across references to Arabian Date Cake. It's made family style instead of individual servings. It also can be served warm or room temperature. This is a deal breaker for me because I hate fussing around in the kitchen with dessert while everyone else is enjoying their dinner.

The recipe did not disappoint. It was light and rich and delightful in every way. I haven't enjoyed a piece of cake so much in years.

A huge gushing thank you to leites culinaria and the book The Arab Table by May Bsisu

First off, these are dates, I didn't know what they looked like so I had to nose around the bulk section of our grocery store until I found the right bin.

Here's the recipe and my notes where I altered it:

For the cake

1/2 pound Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the baking dish
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the topping

3/4 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons heavy cream


Make the cake

1. Place the dates in a heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup water to a boil, pour it over the dates, and let them soak until plumped, 10 minutes. Do not drain.

2. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Coat a 7-by-11-inch baking dish with butter.

I didn't have this pan size, or anything equivalent so I went to JoAnn and bought a nice thick one from Wilton for under three bucks (with 40% coupon). This is the pan size used for brownies and biscuits... who knew?
Beetle shaped fruit of unknown origin (palm trees, aparently) make me nervous and they didn't look more appealing "coarsely chopped" so I plopped my immersion blender in and made a mush of them. Not so scary now!

3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a handheld electric mixer). Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside. Combine the dates and their soaking liquid, the baking soda, and the vanilla in a small bowl.

4. With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg and one third of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour and beat until it is mixed into the batter. Add the date mixture and beat until well blended.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until the cake springs back when tapped with a finger, or when a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Using a fork, poke holes all over the surface of the cake.
Oops, I used the knife I tested the cake with. Oh well.

6. Preheat the broiler.

Make the topping

1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and cream in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until it bubbles slightly, about 3 minutes.

2. Pour this caramel syrup over the baked cake

My poked holes are gargantuan - not to worry, it all works out in the end.

 and then slide it under the broiler until the surface begins to bubble, about 30 seconds.

Immediately remove the dish from the oven.

Let the cake cool a bit; then cut it into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

We all thought this was possibly the best cake ever and I recommend if you try one cake that I've posted so far that this be the one. Serious Bliss!

Next time I think I'll use salted butter instead of unsalted and I think we'll reduce the amount of caramel topping by at least a quarter. I'll also swap out the heavy cream in the topping with fat free half n half. For reasons I can't explain, we like it better.

Don't mind the steel wool, Brayden was soldering... yes, my kid that has lit furniture on fire is now soldering. My hair is turning grey as I type this.

Recipe © 2005 by May S. Bsisu. All rights reserved.


Tiff said...

Thanks for the recipe! The date cakes looks yummmmmmy!

Carmen said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my! Serious drool going on here - looks so easy too. One question - is all purpose flour the same as self-raising over here?

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

Oh yummy. That looks absolutely scrumptious! I'm printing it out.

The son of a friend was assigned the lawn mowing chore. He had a knack for breaking the engines one way or another.

One day, he goes to his dad to ask if he can build an ultralight airplane with - guess what - a lawn mower engine.

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ACreativeDreamer said...

Ohhhh dates, I love, love, LOVE dates! We are so lucky here to have a Middle Eastern market that sells them... I will have to try this! Thanks for sharing!

SellWoWAccount said...

That looks so pleasing! The name itself is already interesting, it's taste would be more than that I suppose.

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Meg Luby said...

i love your cake challenge! dates are super :) i love this! i had bookmarked a bunch of recipes to get back and comment on post vacation and this was one i knew i needed to share some love on. thanks for sharing :)

Unknown said...

I had friends over for dinner tonight and served this for dessert. Everyone loved it! Thanks for the great recipe;

Helen J said...

I know it's a long time since you posted this recipe but, like the last commenter, I made this for friends last night and we all loved it!
I used your suggested changes and I also made it gluten free by changing the all purpose flour for gf plain flour.
Thanks very much, I'll definitely be making this again.

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