This is the first time that a dish I’ve prepared and tested was gobbled up faster than I could take a picture. I’ve tested it three times and each time I asked my family to please leave me a decent slice to photograph. Everyone claimed innocence and ignorance, finger pointing at each other as they wiped toffee from their chins. So…finally, here it is.
This is crazy good. I watched this cake disappear as one by one, members of my family cut thin slices throughout the day. When my son told me he was hungry, I offered him a wrap or a sandwich. “I’m cake hungry,” he said. Taste this and you’ll totally get it.
Pastry chef of the The Living Room Restaurant in East Hampton, Laura Donnelly developed this amazing date toffee cake that is beyond delicious. It will be the moistest cake you’ve ever tasted. Of course, I have no idea how delicious the original recipe tastes, but I can only imagine as this de-glutenized, slightly altered version is heaven. (Thank you, Ina Garten for featuring Ms. Donnelly on one of your Barefoot Contessa shows).
My husband and kids have begged me to put it on the Thanksgiving dessert table. The fact that is was delicious after being in the fridge for three days is a bonus. I love desserts I can make ahead of time.
A note: You should always read a recipe the entire way through before attempting it. This is especially true. Good luck and let me know how you like it.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: 1 single layer cake that serves up to 12
Special equipment: 1 9″ round cake pan
1/2 lb. pitted dates, finely chopped
1 3/4 c. water
1 tsp. baking soda
4 ounces softened butter (room temp)
1/3 c. agave
4 small eggs or 3 large
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. almond flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 T baking powder
8 ounces butter (1 cube)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Whipped cream for serving
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 c. sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly grease a 9″ round cake pan.
- Place chopped dates in a large sauce pan with 1 3/4 c. water and bring to a boil, stirring a little to break up the dates. Simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat. Stir in baking soda which will cause mixture to bubble up. Set aside
- Cream the butter and agave together in a stand mixer until pale and creamy.
- Add eggs, one at a time.
- Add vanilla, then almond flour and salt and mix until combined.
- Add the dates, water and all, in two batches, scraping the bowl down and mixing in between. The dough will be extremely watery, but don’t worry.
- Finally add the baking powder, mixing it in with a hand whisk, which will cause the batter to thicken.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- While the cake is still quite warm, run a blunt knife around the inner edges of the cake pan and invert onto a serving dish.
- For the sauce, combine the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil while whisking, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently for a minute or two until thickened and well blended, whisking a few times to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- With a toothpick or skewer in both hands, poke little holes into the cake – all over – to ensure the sauce is more fully absorbed. Pour the toffee sauce over over the cake while they are both still warm. This can be served warm, room temp, or days later straight out of the fridge. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
- To whip cream: Whisk cream on high for 30 seconds, add sugar and whisk until soft peaks form, about 1 minute with a stand mixer.