Monday, September 28, 2015

Sticky Apple Date Cake

"I wanted to explore a broader spectrum of complementary tastes and flavors, and to imaginative beloved classics as a more balanced blend of sugar and spice.  In these recipes I've tried to take down the sugar to bring up the flavor.  I think that less sweet leaves more room for delicious." - Samantha Seneviratne

Thank you to The New Sugar & Spice for sponsoring today's post!

You've got me, Samantha.  The cover was promising.  The gorgeous muted photos on matte paper had me intrigued.  And your prologue is absolutely spot on. I'm loving this new dessert cookbook: The New Sugar & Spice !

The New Sugar & Spice is my new baking muse.  I love so many things about this book.  First, it is the visual equivalent of aromatherapy.  Second, I love how the recipes are sorted into spice profiles - its a unique way of split them up, and one that works perfectly when you're flipping through looking for the day's inspiration.  And third, as a former test-kitchen pro from Martha (yes, that Martha), the author thinks through details - like writing the ingredients in the order they'll be used so you're not hopelessly scanning the recipe to confirm if it was a Tsp or Tbsp that was needed.

To evaluate the recipes inside, I've tested the Sticky Apple Date Cake from the Ginger chapter.  While it is a bit longer to prepare than some of my favorites (save time by using pre-pitted dates - that step is very long otherwise!), and a bit richer than what we're used to, it was a huge success with our Fall chili night guests!  

Here is the recipe as a preview to the book, quoted from page 195:

Sticky Apple Date Cake

I'm a sucker for anything date-related.  Here I've paired dates with crisp, tart apples and plenty of spicy ginger.  Slathered in just the right amount of butter caramel sauce, this moist cake hits all the right notes.  Add a nip of brandy to the sauce for a little something extra.  As it cools, the sauce may stiffen up.  A little gentle heat will bring it right back, although it makes a tasty frosting as well.

Serves 10

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
10 ounces (about 20) dates, pitted and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) peeled, minced, fresh ginger
2 small sweet-tart apples such as Pink Lady or Braeburn, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch dice (1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted better
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan.  TO prepare the cake, bring the dates and the water to a simmer over medium heat in a small saucepan.  Cook until the dates start to soften, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat an immediately stir in the baking soda.  Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, with an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then add the ginger.  Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Stir in the date mixture and fold in the apples.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes.  

Meanwhile, to prepare the sauce, combine the brown sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.  Add the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer, then decrease the heat to low.  Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes, then remove the pan sides and set the cake on a serving plate.  Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the cake.  Pour half of the warm sauce over the warm cake and let it absorb.  Serve the cake warm with the remaining sauce for drizzling. Store leftovers well wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.


L&L again...

I'm excited to jump farther into this book, and have already thought of a few people on my holiday shopping list who will be getting a copy of their own!  

The only critique I could find of this book is that I wish it showed finished pictures of each and every recipe - I love eating with my eyes.  That said, there are already a lot of beautiful photos that make me want to dive into the pantry and start baking.

Get your copy of Sugar & Spice HERE! 

I received a complementary copy of The New Sugar & Spice in exchange for my honest opinions.


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