Chocolate Date Almond Cakes

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.

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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

Ingredients
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

Method
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.

Notes
– 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!

Serving suggestions
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 ganache
choc-almond ganache (add some almond butter to regular ganache recipe)
vanilla buttercream
vanilla ice cream and fresh berries
choc frosting
cream cheese icing
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Mum actually iced these ones with vanilla buttercream, coconut flakes and freeze-dried raspberry powder – yum!

IMG_7202
My lazy attempt at an iced cupcake – choc ricotta icing with a fresh berry of the ‘strawb’ variety.

 

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