Other times I baked this cake, a long time ago, what I recall is a smoother crumb with a mysterious bite; no one could guess what the secret ingredient was. I wonder if this cake could be done in the food processor? Well, there’s homework for me. For now, we’ll say they are irregular, delicious squares. The final mixture is a bit strange looking, and not a lick-your-spatula batter.
Remember the chocolate cake I told you about on this post? Well, this is not it. Ha.
It turned out too big, too dry, too dense. The idea was great: apricots and chocolate. But it wasn’t a post-worthy recipe. And I won´’t be trying it again. So, as promised, a chocolate cake. This one has dates in it. It’s simply amazing, soft, tender, moist, different. Let me tell you it’s a better trade-off. Lucky you.
An ordinary looking square of chocolate cake with some nuts and chips on top. Oh no. Nothing ordinary about this humble piece of cake. A bit messy looking, but that’s on me, not the cake.
The dates are chopped, and then covered with boiling water and some baking soda. Something happens there. I kinda know it. A chemical thing. Something to do with the baking soda neutralizing something in the dates. Stuff like that. I considered studying chemistry at one point during my teenage years, but as you can see those days are gone.
What you should know here, is that the combination of chocolate and dates is a total synergy. So much more than the sum of its parts. I found really big, plump dates so chopping them was tricky. They stuck to the knife a lot so they appear as chunks.
But when the oven does it’s magic, the rest will be history. And it tastes so much better the next day.
MOM´S CHOCOLATE CHIP DATE CAKE
barely adapted from Death by Chocolate, by Marcel Desaulniers
1 ½ cups water
2 cups (8 oz /225g) chopped dates
1 ¾ teaspoons baking soda
¼ pound (115g) unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups (260g) all purpose flour
4 Tbs (60g) unsweetened cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts
Preheat the oven to 325ºF / 170ºC
Butter and flour a 9- by 13-inch (22×33 cm) and set aside. Bring water to a boil. In a small bowl put dates and 1 teaspoon of the baking soda. Add boiling water and set aside until needed.
Sift flour, cocoa, remaining ¾ teaspoons baking soda, and salt over a bowl and set aside.
Combine 1 cup sugar with butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on high for 1 minute, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat an additional 2 minutes.
Add vanilla and mix well. Add the sifted dry mixture and beat on low until well combined. Add the cooled date mixture and continue to beat for 30 seconds. Remove mixer and thoroughly combine with a spatula.
Pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly, including corners. Sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts, then the walnuts and return to the oven to bake for another 20 to 25 more minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remember you have the chocolate chips on top, not to confuse with uncooked batter.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool on a rack, about 30 to 40 minutes. Refrigerate cake at least 20 minutes before serving.