Sticky Date Cake with Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache

I love a warm toffee pudding on a stormy day. But sometimes I find that toffee pudding along with that rich butterscotch sauce can be so overly sweet. This cake combines those familiar pudding flavours and pairs them with a bitter, dark salted caramel chocolate ganache – balancing the sweet dates with the salty, bitter topping. The cake is deliciously moist and is subtly spiced with cinnamon, so the date flavour can really shine!

Notes:
*I have used 75% dark chocolate for the salted caramel chocolate ganache. However, I have previously made this ganache using milk chocolate as well. The texture of the ganache might vary depending on the kind of chocolate you use. If you find your ganache is grainy, whisk in a couple of teaspoons of heavy cream and it should come together.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  1. 220 g dates, pitted and chopped
  2. 250 g water, boiling
  3. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
  5. 110 g brown sugar
  6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 150 g flour
  9. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  10. 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the ganache:

  1. 50 g dark chocolate, chopped
  2. 50 g sugar
  3. 10 g unsalted butter
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 102 g heavy cream

Method:

  1. Start by making the ganache as it needs time to set in the fridge. Place the chopped chocolate in a large, heat-proof bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, add the sugar and cook over medium heat until it turns a dark amber colour. Add in the butter and salt and mix to combine.
  3. Then add in the cream. The mixture will splatter, so be careful. If it has lumps, place on a low heat and stir until everything is smooth.
  4. Pour the hot salted caramel over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes. Then stir together until smooth. Place in the fridge to set.
  5. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a deep rectangular sheet pan with parchment paper.
  6. Add the dates, boiling water and baking soda to a small bowl and leave for 5-6 minutes.
  7. Add the dates along with the water to a blender. Then add in the vanilla, eggs, butter and brown sugar. Process until you have a smooth mixture.
  8. Next add in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and process for a few seconds until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  9. Transfer to the baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and letting cool completely.
  10. Once cool, remove the ganache from the fridge and whisk until smooth and glossy. If the ganache looks grainy, add a few teaspoons of heavy cream and whisk in. Spread over cooled cake.

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