STICKY DATE CAKE WITH SALTED TOFFEE SAUCE

I can't believe it's already Christmas and this year is coming to a close.  I'm spending time in rainy California with family, tons of christmas cookies and holiday music.  This sticky date cake will be a beloved new addition to our usual Christmas morning cinnamon rolls (gf, of course), hot chocolate and quiche.  These cakes couldn't be more festive if they tried, and I hope they bring some much needed cheer to your holiday gatherings.

STICKY DATE CAKE WITH SALTED TOFFEE SAUCE (Gluten-free) Makes 10 mini bundts

Date Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped medjool dates 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, liquified
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 mandarins, zested + 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot or tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut or brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Salted Toffee Sauce (Adapted from Nigella)

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3/4 stick butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a mini bundt pan with coconut oil and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add chopped dates, baking soda and boiling water.  Let mixture sit for about 10 minutes to soften.

Once dates have soften, using a masher or fork, mash the mixture until dates have broken down and sauce is thick, smooth-ish paste.  Then, stir in coconut oil, vanilla, maple, and mandarin juice + zest.  

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together almond, oat, and arrowroot flour with sugar, spices and salt.  Then, mix flour mixture into wet ingredients, a little at a time, until all dry ingredients are incorporated.  Stir until well combined, then evenly divide among mini bundt cakes (filling until 3/4 full).  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges are firm and cake bounces ever-so-slightly back.  Set aside to fully cool in the pan before trying to remove.  

To make toffee sauce: Put sugar, maple, and butter in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil.  Once sugar and butter have dissolved, let simmer/bubble for 3-4 minutes, then whisk in the heavy cream (carefully, it will bubble up).  Mix in sea salt.  Then, cook mixture over medium heat until thick, glossy and golden brown.  Remove from heat.  Store in a clean mason jar.  

To serve: Top date cakes with warm toffee sauce.  Serve immediately!  Also, would be great with a dollop of creme fraiche or ice cream ;) 

 

SOUR CHERRY & STRAWBERRY WALNUT OAT CRUMBLE

Summer has been busy & full of amazing produce.  I know I'm not the only New Yorker freaking out at the farmer's market every weekend.  As usual, I have too much food in the house & not enough people to cook for.  The fruit right now is out of this world (peaches! sugarplums! currants!), and I can't stop making fruit desserts, shrubs, compotes, etc.  I don't know what I would do if I lived in California and had perfect produce all year round.  I probably wouldn't leave the house.

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the day with James Hartley & romping around the farmer's market & Brooklyn.  Eater wrote a lovely write-up & I made my go-to dessert with two of my favorite fruits.  

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Sour Cherry & Strawberry Oat Crumble (vegan & gluten-free) Serves 4

Filling:

  • 2 cups strawberries, quartered
  • 2 cups sour cherries, pitted
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado or coconut sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca/arrowroot starch 

Mix together all ingredients and stir to macerate berries/cherries. Set aside. 

Crumble :

  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free quick cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2/3 cup brown or coconut sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, cut into cubes 
  • Raw sugar to top

Whisk together first seven ingredients until well combined. Using your hands, mix in coconut oil and shortening until crumble resembles an oatmeal cookie dough. 

Add filling to a Pyrex dish or pie pan. Layer crumble evenly over top & sprinkle with raw sugar to top. 

Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes or until crumble is browned on top and fruit is bubbling around the sides.  Set aside to cool for 20 minutes, then serve warm.

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE LOVELY JAMES HARTLEY