While our girls were growing up, we always had extra children in the house. It helped that we were the closest home to the island’s one room schoolhouse. Consequently I tried to have quick snacks that would refuel them before they’d head out to play on our farm. Sometimes it was just a snack to eat while curled up on the couch watching a movie on a rainy Saturday. This recipe was used many times over the years, and was a favourite of the builders who built our house. The dates give it an honest sweetness, and the simple topping of nuts and chocolate give a crunch and richness to make the cake even better.
I’ve made this cake with regular all-purpose flour and with gluten free flour (I use Cup 4 Cup), and it is light and fluffy whichever you choose to use. The nuts can be any type you want, or even a combination. Do use semi-sweet chocolate chips though, as milk chocolate will be too sweet.
9 x 13 cake
1¾ c flour (Gluten Free – I use Cup 4 Cup)
2 T cocoa
½ t salt
1 c chopped dates (about 150 gr)
1 t baking soda
1 c boiling water
1 c butter (8 oz or 227 gr)
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 8 oz or 227 gr)
1 c chopped nuts (150 gr) walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts etc.
Preheat the oven to 350°
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt.
Pour the cup of boiling water over the dates, stir, and let sit ‘til cool.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs and add to the butter mixture, along with the vanilla.
Beat until creamy and smooth.
Add in the flour mixture in 3 parts alternately with the date mixture in 2 parts. Start with the flour mixture, following with the dates. Do this twice, and then finish with the last third of the flour mixture.