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Chocolate-Date Cake with Chocolate Sticky Toffee Glaze

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This date-studded dessert derives its intoxicating flavor from chunks of dark chocolate and a jigger of brandy. A chocolate-enhanced sticky toffee glaze may also have something to do with the cake's appeal.

  • Servings: 12

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2007

Ingredients

For The Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 15 ounces whole Medjool dates (about 22), pitted, plus 4 more, pitted and halved lengthwise, for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons strong-brewed coffee
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably at least 61 percent cacao), coarsely chopped

For The Glaze

  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably at least 61 percent cacao), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons brandy

Directions

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment, and butter parchment.

  2. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Meanwhile, combine dates, brandy, coffee, and 2 tablespoons cocoa in a heatproof bowl. Stir in boiling water. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Puree cooled date mixture in a food processor (you should have about 2 1/2 cups). Place 3/4 cup puree in a small bowl, and press plastic wrap directly on surface; reserve. Place remaining puree in a large bowl.

  3. Whisk flour, salt, cinnamon, and remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa in a bowl.

  4. Beat butter and dark-brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition (batter will look curdled).

  5. Stir baking soda into reserved uncovered date puree. On low speed, beat flour mixture into egg mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the date mixture. Beat in chocolate. Transfer batter to prepared pan, and smooth top.

  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen, and invert cake onto rack. Remove parchment, turn cake right side up, and let cool completely.

  7. Make the glaze: Bring butter, light-brown sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in cream. Add chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in brandy. Let cool until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

  8. Assemble the cake: Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of cake so it is flat. Place cake on stand. Spread remaining 3/4 cup date puree over top of cake. Pour glaze over top, letting some drip down sides. Garnish with halved dates.

Cook's Notes

To deftly remove the pit from a Medjool date, using a pairing knife to make a short slit lengthwise along one side of the fruit. Then use the tip of the knife to coax the pit from its place. Unglazed cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Reviews Add a comment

  • mlevynj
    23 MAY, 2017
    I haven't cut into the cake yet, but can say this...the recipe calls for much much more glaze than is necessary to merely drip over the edge of the cake. I stupidly dumped the w[filtered] bowl of glaze on the cake instead of s[filtered]ing it on, and it flowed over the edge, over the edge of the cake board, over the edge of my cake carrier, onto my counter, my cabinets, and my floor. There was easily 4 times the amount of glaze necessary. I did check afterwards that I used the correct amount of ingredients. I also waited about 40 minutes before pouring the glaze. Anyway, be careful. Also, when I whisked the glaze, it trapped bubbles in the sticky toffee. Also, I put the garnish dates on too soon, and they started flowing with the glaze. Next time I'll wait longer for the glaze to cool, and after topping the cake, will wait even longer before adding the garnish dates.
    Reply
  • MS11918431
    17 NOV, 2008
    Cake is delicious but the brandy is overpowering. I would definitely leave it out of the glaze next time.
    Reply
  • rufus31
    13 AUG, 2008
    The cake was great-moist and dense texture. However, I had a problem with the glaze-the butter separated out when I whisked the glaze mixture. So, the glaze became dull but still tasted fine-almost fudge-like. I don't know what happened so if anyone has an idea, please respond. Oh, I think this cake could be made with dried figs if one wants to substitute another flavor.
    Reply
  • magdalaszlo
    7 MAR, 2008
    This cake is so delicious! It turned out perfect, even the first time around. I didn't use corn syrup for the glaze and it was still delicious and beautifully shiny. I highly recommend it.
    Reply