Where have dates disappeared to from our modern dessert repertoire? Historically they were popular because they were oh so sweet and because they shipped well and lasted forever. As a kid we always had a package of dates in the house for impromptu date squares. My grandmother, a young girl during the depression remembered being give a date or two as a treat instead of candy which there was no money for. In our image conscious era, I’ll admit that dates aren’t exactly sexy, but they taste great; a little bit like honey with a hint of exotic spices, I’d eat them all day long, but they do pack a calorie or two. But never mind that, on to the dessert, life is too short, not to eat dates.
This cake is light, and easy to make. And because I’m trying to cut back a little bit (which being a baker, is next to impossible for me) I served it with a lemon sauce and not my usual favorite, custard sauce. This cake tastes a little bit like sticky toffee pudding, just not as heavy. And like any good dessert, it’s also perfect as a Saturday morning breakfast (without the sauce) and a big cup of coffee to be enjoyed slowly with a paper or a good friend. It’s time to bring dates back!
Date Cake Dessert, adapted from The Modern Family Cook Book
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 generous tbsp. softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 lb dates, chopped
1 cup boiling water
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, stir with a fork, set aside.
In another bowl, cover chopped dates with the boiling water, set aside to cool slightly.
In a third bowl, cream the butter with the sugar, add the egg, then vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternately with the date mixture. Begin and end with the flour. The batter will be kind of runny, but that’s ok.
Pour into a greased and lightly floured 8″ round cake tin and bake until the sides pull away from the pan and the cake is a luxurious golden brown. Approx. 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool 10 minutes then remove from the cake tin. Serve warm or room temperature with a sauce of your choice, or whipped cream.
Ps. dates are good for you, they are an excellent source of both iron and fibre.