Every time we go to a library book sale, Peter makes a beeline for the cookbook section. A few years ago, he discovered this James Beard Award-winning cookbook by master-chef Marcel Desaulniers. He bought it specifically for ONE recipe: the chocolate date cake.
Variations of this recipe — some very old — have circulated around the Internet many times. I can see why. One bite of this date-sweetened chocolate cake had me baking a second batch within days (dates?).
Since then, I’ve made versions of this dessert more times than I’ve sneaked Maddies “just a taste” of something at the dinner table. And that’s saying something. The version below is my favorite.
(As a side note, I wanted to serve the chocolate date cake with scoops of ice cream shaped with a spoon in the fancy way they do at nice restaurants. It’s supposed to look like an ovoid with two points. Sadly, my ice cream ended up looking like melty spleens. You’re welcome for that image.)
The Most Popular Chocolate Date Cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: bake dates dessert chocolate birthday Christmas cake
Ingredients (16 servings)
- 2 cups chopped dates (1 8-ounce package)
- 1 3/4 tsp baking soda, divided into 1 tsp and 3/4 tsp
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/4 pound butter, softened (I use about half as much)
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided into 1 cup and 1/4 cup
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease & flour a 9×13 inch pan.
Bring the water to a boil. Chop the dates, then sprinkle them with 1 tsp of baking soda. Pour the boiling water over them and set them aside to soften.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, remaining 3/4 tsp baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter & 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla and sifted flour mixture. Stir in the date and water mixture.
Pout the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.
If the cake is cold and you like it warm, microwave a piece for about 15 seconds until it becomes gooey and delicious.
Q: What’s your favorite dessert of all time?