Chocolate Chip Date Cake

chocolate chip date cakeEvery once in a while you come across a cake that you just love. Something a little different than your typical layer cake, and it’s even better when there’s a cool story behind it. Such is the case with this chocolate chip date cake.

Charity, a former co-worker (and fellow runner), brought this cake to an office birthday celebration and it was so delicious! Charity shared with us that after her mother died when she was young, her family had a nanny who was very special. Each year on her birthday, the nanny made this cake for Charity, a tradition that Charity carries on to this day.  Such a touching story to go along with a cake that has now become my mother’s favorite and has become a tradition in our family.

We have a whole slew of January, February, and March birthdays and Pete and I happily hosted the celebration. I made the cake ahead of time, without frosting it, wrapped it up in saran and foil and froze it until the big day (it freezes really well!). My parents had driven down the day before from Fargo, and were closely watching the weather forecast because it sounded like it could potentially be a little dicey driving home Monday morning. By Sunday morning, a blizzard watch for the Fargo area had been posted starting late Sunday, going through Monday, and Mom & Dad made the tough decision to drive back to Fargo Sunday before the late-day birthday party. It was such a disappointment, but totally understandable. Having driven through some stormy winter weather the weekend before coming home from the Vasaloppet, Pete and I did not want them to go through the same stress, and for a much longer distance. But we couldn’t send them on their way with no Chocolate Chip Date Cake! I had just taken it out of the freezer and planned to frost it that afternoon, however, with the change of plans, it was frosting-making time right after breakfast. We sent them home with a hunk of cake, and during the candle lighting & singing of happy birthday with the rest of the family, the missing portion was symbolic of them not being there to celebrate. Mom and Dad arrived safely back to Fargo, but not without having to navigate pre-storm conditions in an area close to home where car after car went in the ditch.  The 5 PM news on Monday had a story about blizzard conditions in west central Minnesota and many accidents, including at least one fatal, about 25 miles this side of Fargo, so we’re extremely happy they made the decision to go home Sunday, despite missing the party.

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Chocolate Chip Cake Date

Cake batter:
1 cup chopped dates
1 tsp baking soda, divided
1 ½ cup boiling water
½ cup butter
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
¾ tsp salt

Topping:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup sugar
½ cup chopped, toasted nuts

Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbls butter
2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
Milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour boiling water over dates. Add ¼ tsp baking soda. Let cool.  Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, date mixture, flour, salt, and remaining ¾ tsp baking soda. Blend well.  Pour batter into two greased 8-inch round layer pans. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter. Bake for 35 minutes.

Frosting: Melt butter & chocolate together. Add sugar and vanilla. Add enough milk for spreading consistency.

Assemble: Frost top of bottom layer, add top layer and frost the sides of both layers. Serve with good quality vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

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