We had some friends and family over for dinner, and I thought about this cake, which, amazingly, I have not made in like 12 years (!)
Full disclosure: although the cake we enjoyed on Saturday was delicious, I did make a few mistakes in putting it together, so, in the interest of doing full service to this wicked tasty recipe from the barefoot contessa, I have re-edited my images from 2011 and am using them for the purposes of this post.
•10 oz dates, pitted and finely chopped
•1/4 cup bourbon*
•1-1/4 cup water
•1 tsp baking soda
•4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, softened
•3/8 cup sugar
•1/2 tsp vanilla
•1-1/4 cup flour
•1/2 tsp salt
•1-5/8 tsp baking powder
•1/4 lb butter (1 sticks)
•1/2 cup brown sugar
•1/4 cup heavy cream
•1 tsp vanilla
*I thought that the bourbon would be a nice addition (and it was), but if you prefer, ship that and just use 1-1/4 cup of water.
Heat your oven to 350º and butter and flour one deep cake pan, or, use my One. One. One. cake pan coating.
Note: I also lined the bottom of my pan with waxed paper.
Place the dates in a small sauce pan with the bourbon (if using) and water, then bring to a boil, stirring to break up the dates.
Bring to a simmer for one minute before removing from the heat and stirring ithe baking soda. The mixture will foam up a bit.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer, then add the eggs, scraping down the bowl.
Whisk the flour together with the salt and then add to the egg and butter mixture along with the vanilla until you have a lumpy dough, again scraping down the bowl.
Add the warm date mixture in two batches, and yes, scrape down the bowl after adding and mixing in each batch. Stir in baking powder, which also will foam up a bit.
Transfer to your prepared baking pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or so, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, combine the toffee sauce ingredients in a medium pot and cook, stirring to combine.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes until nicely thickened.
When the cake is done, remove from the oven and poke little holes all over with a toothpick; this will allow the cake to better absorb the toffee sauce.
Pour the warm toffee sauce over the warm cake, and allow to rest for ten minutes before turning the cake out upside down on a serving platter.
If you’ve used it, remove the waxed paper.
I dusted mine with a bit of confectioners; sugar and let it rest before serving after dinner for dessert with whipped cream.
In 2011, I also offered some Madeleines, but for this dinner I had already made home made dough for a Detroit Style Pizza, and some pretty tasty sausage in pastry bites, so I skipped that bit.