Recipe for Chocolate Date Cake – a dense, moist and deliciously chocolatey loaf sweetened with pureed dried dates and cherries for a guilt-free dessert or snack
3/4 cup soft dried dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 oz (115 g) fine quality dark chocolate, melted
1 cup boiling water
Line a 9 x 15 inch pan with parchment paper. Preheat an oven to 375F/190C.
In a small saucepan, simmer the dates and cherries with the 1/2 cup of water, stirring often, until the fruit is tender. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and date purée. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Fold in the melted chocolate.
Using a wooden spoon, beat in half of the flour mixture until just combined. Pour in the boiling water, stir to combine, and then beat in the remaining flour until just combined. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan.
Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325F/160C and bake for another 15 minutes. A cake tester should come out clean at this point. Leave to rest in the pan for about 40 to 60 minutes (you don’t want the cake to fall apart when removing it, so the longer the better). Carefully lift the loaf by the edges of the parchment paper and remove from the pan.
Let the cake cool completely before cutting. You may want to even wait until the next day, although the temptation might make that a challenge.
Makes 1 9 x 5 inch loaf (about 15 slices)