This month marks my three year anniversary of living in Los Angeles. Or in other words, it’s been three years since I left New York. My heart fills with nostalgia when I think about it. But when I ask myself what exactly it is that I miss the most, I know it’s the friends who still live there and the food. My friend Claire was one of those friends who tried everything to stop me from leaving. “LA? You know you’ll have to drive there, right?” With a look of utter disdain and serious concern for my safety. Claire is a neurologist with a resume so impressive that I often wondered why a doctor like her had anything to do with me considering my most outstanding memories of New York involve cocktails, high heels, and eating food I couldn’t afford. But for some reason, she always had time for a mimosa-fueled trip to Bloomingdale’s or a late night beer and burger on Avenue C. Now, her attempts to stop me have turned into graceful attempts to woo me back. She has always known the best places to eat (and drink for that matter). Whenever I go back to New York these days, she shows me where to eat. And that means going to Moto in South Williamsburg for the herbed ribs and famous date cake. That date cake is enough to make even the happiest of Angelenos move back to New York. This date cake was my attempt to recreate it. It turned out SO good that I don’t have to move back after all.
Warm Date Cake with Toffee Sauce and Whipped Cream
- 4 cups (approx 1 lb) Mejool dates
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup fine baking sugar
- 3 large eggs
For Toffee Sauce
- 1 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon fine baking sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
MAKE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Buttera 9×13 inch pan. Slice dates lengthwise to remove pits and coarsely chop. Place chopped dates in medium bowl. Boil 3 cups of water and pour over dates. Add the baking soda to the date and water mixture and stir. Let sit for 25 minutes.
While dates are soaking, combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
In large bowl, Using an electric mixer, beat together 1 stick of butter and 1 cup sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in each egg before adding the next. Add the flour mixture to egg mixture 1/3 at at time, mixing completely before adding each batch. Add date and water mixture and stir to combine.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 4o minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
While cake is baking, MAKE TOFFEE SAUCE: In a 2 quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add brown sugar. Bring to a boil and stir. Add heavy cream and vanilla extract and continue stirring. Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until it has thickened, about five-10 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
MAKE WHIPPED CREAM: In cold bowl, add 2 cups heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla and beat with and electric mixture until light and fluffy.
Cut cake into square pieces and generously ladle toffee sauce over cake so it is in a pool of sauce. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top.