Recipe adapted from the ‘Chocolate-date layer cake with peanut butter choc ganache’ published in the Good Food section of the Age on the 19th August 2014 – Dan Lepard.
To be completely honest, I tried this recipe because I had no faith in it working. I wasn’t sure how a mix of dates and almonds would effect the outcome of a classic chocolate cake.. but boy was I wrong! These little cupcakes are absolutely delicious and completely moreish. Whilst being rich and indulgent, they’re super light and fluffy at the same time. The dates add a caramel complexity to the sweetness whilst the almond butter keeps them moist with a hint of nuttiness. The recipe called for peanut, almond or cashew butter, but I decided to go with fresh homemade roasted almond butter instead because I prefer it, but it is completely up to you.
I made the almond butter by simple processing home-roasted almonds in a food processor for 5-10 minutes until smooth from the oils releasing.
Chocolate Date Almond Cakes
Makes 2 x 18cm tin cakes or 20-24 cupcakes
175 g dates, pitted *
300 ml boiling water
100 g roast almond butter (or peanut/cashew but I insist you try roast almond)
125 g unsalted butter, cubed
275 g brown sugar
75 g cocoa powder
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vanilla extract
200 g plain flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking soda (bi-carb soda)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees/160 degrees fan forced and grease cake tins or line muffin tins with patty pans or wrappers. I used some funky brown ones from Coles.
2. Put pitted dates in a bowl and pour over the boiling water, and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
3. Process butter, almond butter and date mixture (including water) in a food processor until smooth.
4. I read the recipe wrong and just added everything to the food processor next so this next step is up to you. You can either;
– Add sugar, cocoa powder, eggs and vanilla to the food processor and blend until incorporated or
– If you’re food processor is too small, transfer the mixture to a bowl and add sugar, cocoa, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
5. Add sifted flour, baking powder and soda to the choc/date mixture until combined. The mixture should be quite runny.
6. If making cupcakes, I suggest you transfer the mixture to a pouring container (measuring jug will do) and pour the mixture into the patty cases as this will save a lot of mess. Alternatively, you can spoon the mixture into the patty cases or pour into cake tins.
7. Bake for 30 mins for cakes, or 15-20 mins for cupcakes. You will know they are ready when a skewer comes out clean or they bounce back when touched lightly on top!
8. Try not to devour in one sitting.
– I used medjool dates because they are my fave but you can use just regular dryer dates as long as you soak them for at least 5 minutes in the boiling water.
– If you’re food processor is big enough, I highly suggest you just chuck everything in there and keep blending. It saves time, effort and a whole lot of cleaning up, 3 things that are ideal for the lazy and impatient cooks, like me!
For the purpose of a pretty photo, I whipped up a 2 minute choc ricotta frosting from ricotta, cocoa powder and icing sugar, slathered it on and put a chopped strawberry on top but other suggestions include;
choc-almond ganache (add some almond butter to regular ganache recipe)
vanilla ice cream and fresh berries
cream cheese icing
Mum actually iced these ones with vanilla buttercream, coconut flakes and freeze-dried raspberry powder – yum!