Friday, April 3, 2009

my sweetest date...

Next Monday is my grandfather's 86th birthday... and I couldn't let something like that just pass by without baking a cake :0)

I wanted to make something that would remind him of my grandmother... and she made the best square dates (yep - same as date squares, but years ago my father flipped the name and its stuck with the family...) so I attempted to bake the sticky date gateau from my Golden Book of Patisserie... I'm posting the recipe tonight - but only taste testing tomorrow afternoon... so I'll update once the birthday celebration has concluded (fingers crossed)...

Andre's Sticky Date (cake)
2 1/3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp b. powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 c. pitted and chopped dates
1 c. boiling water
1/2 tsp b. soda
4 tbsp dark semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. b. sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/3 c. pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 9 inch round pans and line with wax paper. Set them aside.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, b. powder and salt.

In a smaller bowl, combine the chopped dates, boiling water, chocolate and b. soda together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with a hand held mixer. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat everything together until the batter becomes creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.

Lower the speed on the mixer and add the chopped pecans and then the date mixture. Now add the dry mixture and combine well.

Divide the batter into the two pans and bake for about 30 minutes. The result is two golden cakes. Set the two pans aside and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove from the pans, peel off the wax paper and allow both cakes to cool completely.

Once cooled - slice each cake in half horizontally. Now you have 4 cake rounds - ready to be layered.

Now for the Buttercream - the original recipe required a Butterscotch liqueur buttercream - but since this had to be a family friendly dessert (including kids) - I decided to use a caramel syrup (used in flavoured coffees) instead. Wherever you see the syrup feel free to replace with a liqueur.

Caramel Buttercream
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. icing sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. caramel syrup

With a hand mixer - cream the butter and then add the icing and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the caramel syrup and combine well.

Spread 1/3 of the batter on 3 of the cake rounds - layering each one on top of the other. Finally top with the last cake round. Set aside.

Ok... so you think, that's it right? Well, nope. Another step to go. The Butterscotch Frosting became a Caramel Frosting (again, please replace the flavour as you wish).

Caramel Frosting
1 1/3 c. icing sugar
1/4 c. caramel syrup
2 tbsp boiling water

Beat the icing sugar and syrup together, slowly adding the boiling water and beating until you get the smooth consistency. According to the recipe - you top the cake with the frosting now... I prefer to let it sit in the fridge for about 45 minutes and thicken. Once thicker, spoon the frosting onto the top and sides of the cake.

That's it... stay tuned. I'll let you know how it all turned out...

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