Dates are under appreciated and people miss out on the breadth and depth of flavor! My mother-in-law, Bertha Varghese, baked a childhood favorite, Date cake. Her daughter Marie and I recover the recipe here, and I can't help myself, I add a raspberry glaze. I think Bertha would have approved! —Rich Altmaier
- Prep time 2 hours
- Cook time 1 hour
- Serves 8
- For the cake
addl granulated sugar for the caramelization
oz weight unsalted butter
sliced almonds, or chopped walnuts
- For the glaze
oz weight raspberries
oz weight powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F convection. Line a 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper
- Dice the dates. I cut once along the long direction, then 3-4 times cross-wise.
- In a small bowl, beat 1/2 the sugar and butter together until light & fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- In a large sauce pan, place the 3tbs of sugar and 2 tbs of water, and stir to dissolve the sugar entirely. Then heat on medium, while occasionally shaking the pan, and let the sugar get fairly dark.
- Lower the heat, and carefully stir in the milk, avoiding hot spatter, and stir until the caramel dissolves entirely. Note: the caramelized sugar will initially harden, but as the milk heats, it will dissolve entirely. Do not boil the milk. Remove from heat and let cool a bit, below 160F, before proceeding.
- Mix in all remaining sugar and stir until dissolved. Mix in the butter, and stir until dissolved. Mix in the chopped dates.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, nuts, salt, baking powder, & spice.
- Beat the egg and vanilla together, for about 5 minutes, and mix into the liquid.
- Lastly fold in the flour to the liquid.
- Pour into baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the center does not wobble when slightly shaking the pan, and the sides pull away a bit. Don't check before 35 minutes or it will collapse!
- Leave to cool before applying the glaze.
- Adding the glaze: Place raspberries in a small sauce pan, heat on medium, and smash them a bit with a wooden spoon.
- Stir and continue smashing until it reaches a boil. Let it boil a minute or two. Pour through a strainer to remove the seeds and collect the juice.
- Rinse the sauce pan and return the juice to the sauce pan, and add the sugar. Note: this sugar contains a starch which will cause the stiffening we want!
- Heat gently to a boil, then stir regularly, continuing to boil. As it boils it will slightly thicken.
- When a spoonful can pour and show it is slightly thicker, remove from heat and immediately spoon over the cake. The mixture will solidify quickly, so don't hesitate!