Warm Date Cakes Chef Omer Miller, "Israeli Cooking"
Best served warm, these little cakes are delicious and so easy to make.
Ingredients (3 loaf cakes or 30 muffins or mini-babka)
1/2 kg (1lb 2 oz) pressed pitted dates
1 liter (1 quart) water
15 g (2 flat tablespoons, 1/2 oz) baking soda
400 g (14 oz) butter, softened at room temperature
400 g (14 oz) sugar
1 vanilla pod, slit open
750 g (1 lb 6 1/2 oz) flour
15 g (2 skimmed tablespoons, 1/2 oz) baking powder
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
50 g (2 oz) butter
80 ml (3 oz) heavy cream
80 ml (3 oz) milk
1 teaspoon brandy
Mix dates with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add baking soda, mix and set aside in a warm place.
Preheat oven to 170ºC (340ºF).
Beat softened butter with sugar in an electrical mixer, add eggs gradually and continue to beat until pale, thick and fluffy.
Slit open the vanilla pod and grate the seeds into the egg mixture. Keep the pod to use in preparing the sauce. Sift flour with baking soda and fold into the egg mixture. Fold in dates and water mixture.
Pour the batter into well greased baking pans, filling each 3/4 full, and bake until toothpick comes out dry with a few crumbs adhering – about an hour for loaf pans, 35 minutes for individual cakes.
Make the sauce: bring all ingredients except brandy to a boil, including reserved vanilla pod. Cook for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and cool. Stir in the brandy.
To serve: pour the sauce on slices of cake (or individual cakes) and heat for 30 seconds in a microwave oven.