Chocolate date tray cake and cool food

stripeI bet you read the title of this recipe and thought “blech, dates.”

Some foods just aren’t cool.

Kale is the popular kid at school at the moment. Quinoa comes a close second. Mangosteen is new on the block, but he’s got his sights set for popularity too.

Dates, unfortunately, don’t even register on the cool scale. Dates aren’t even bullied at school – they’re the food that other foods forget exist. Dates are unseen, unappreciated and probably do their homework in the library at lunch time.

Poor dates.

But I don’t get it! Dates are actually really good. My first ever post (and one of my favourite recipes ever) was sticky date pudding. It is one of my go-to recipes because it is always a winner. And the humble old date is the main ingredient!

Combined with chocolate, dates absolutely shine. Their sweetness is amplified and their squidginess is raised up on a pedestal.

Dates are delicious, versatile and under-used. The dried dates that you buy in 500g bags at the supermarket are usually an absolute bargain as well, so I don’t understand why more people convert to date-loving. My nanna understood the simple wonders that dates offered, and somewhere in between her generation and mine, dates fell out with the ‘in’ crowd. For this reason, this cake is the ultimate nanna cake, it would be perfect with afternoon tea.

Grab the dates sitting in a dusty-lidded piece of Tupperware in your pantry. Try this date slice, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Chocolate date tray cake:

  • 1 cup dates, choppedslice
  • 1 cup water
  • 125g butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarb
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 80g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Chocolate icing:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 60g dark cooking chocolate, melted

datesPreheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 20cm x 30cm baking tray.

Place your dates and the water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Squish them a little as they’re boiling so that the larger pieces break up. Continue to boil for 2 minutes to reduce some of the water.

addAdd in the butter and sugar, mixing to combine. Quickly mix in the egg so that the warm mixture doesn’t cook it.

eggAdd the flour, bicarb, cocoa, cinnamon and salt and mix, ensuring that there are no pockets of flour left unmixed.

Add in the roughly chopped chocolate pieces and stir.

cocoaScoop the mixture into your prepared tray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

When the cake is entirely cooled turn it out onto a plate and start on the icing. Make the icing by creaming together the butter with a third of the icing sugar, adding the chocolate and then mixing in the rest of the icing sugar.

Ice with a palette knife, using long strokes to achieve the stripy look that I’ve gone for.

19 thoughts on “Chocolate date tray cake and cool food”

  1. Oh Gab! I’m going to post soon a cake with dates… and I’m not a super fan of dates, but I don’t know how in cakes they turn out amazing… so I trust your cake at 100%. I’ve loved your expression “poor dates”… it made me laugh!

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