Chocolate-date layer cake with peanut butter chocolate ganache

all details

Until they discover that the universe was formed by a giant cake exploding, baking science will forever remain kitchen-based. Without realising it, we're invoking complex science to create even the simplest birthday cake. We often feel a twinge of panic when we read the packaging of shop-bought cakes and see ingredients like emulsifiers, humectants, modified starches and invert sugars, even though, say, the old-fashioned boiled date cake that my mum makes contains all of those things.

Dan Lepard's chocolate-date layer cake with peanut butter and chocolate ganache.
Dan Lepard's chocolate-date layer cake with peanut butter and chocolate ganache. Photo: William Meppem

Ingredients

175g pitted dates

300ml boiling water

100g peanut, almond or cashew butter

125g unsalted butter, cubed

275g dark brown sugar

75g cocoa

3 eggs (60g each)

3 tsp vanilla extract

200g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

Peanut butter chocolate ganache

200g double cream

75g brown sugar

225g dark chocolate (70 per cent)

75g smooth peanut butter

2 tbsp dark rum or milk

Method

1. Line the bases of two deep, round 18-centimetre layer cake tins with discs of non-stick paper and heat the oven to 180C or 160C fan-forced.

2. Put the dates in a bowl, pour the boiling water in then leave for five minutes. Add the peanut butter and unsalted butter then puree in a food processor until smooth.

3. Pour the date mixture into a bowl and beat in the sugar and cocoa, then the eggs and vanilla. Sift the flour with the baking soda and baking powder, then fold in until just combined.

4. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake for about 30 minutes.

5. For the ganache, boil the cream, stir in the sugar then pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Add the peanut butter and rum then stir slowly until the chocolate dissolves. Leave until almost set, then spread and assemble the cakes while the ganache is thick and smooth.

Serves 8 to 10

 

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  • Main Ingredients - Nuts, Chocolate, Cream/Milk
  • Cuisine - British
  • Course - Dessert
  • Occasion - Morning/Afternoon Tea, Birthday, Dinner Party

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Reader ratings (6)

6 comments so far

  • Now if you need it to be nut-free you can leave out the nut butter. I re-tested the recipe without peanut butter and it was delicious and stayed extra soft for days. But... to my tastebuds it was better with the peanut butter so I left it as-is.

    Commenter
    Dan Lepard
    Location
    Date and time
    August 19, 2014, 3:10PM
    • Dan I LOVE the vision of an exploding cake creating the universe! :-) Sadly I am a coeliac so I will be trying your cake with GF flour. Will post the outcome. I'm guessing that smooth peanut butter would be the best for this cake?

      Commenter
      Kate
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 22, 2014, 2:06PM
    • Kate, use either smooth or crunchy, as you prefer. And try and use a "brown bread" flour mix (look for one that contains ground chia seeds), as these often hold the structure better that white mixes.

      Commenter
      Dan Lepard
      Location
      Date and time
      August 22, 2014, 5:04PM
  • I must try this cake soon :) But did you know that in baking you should always use fresh baking powder? I did a little research and there's a simple method to test its freshness - you need to toss a teaspoon of baking powder into a glass of water and check whether is fizzes. You can find a little more about it here http://www.listonic.com/protips/get/lbjcqrgnhj

    Commenter
    Paula
    Location
    Date and time
    August 21, 2014, 5:05PM
  • This is the best chocolate cake I have ever made my audience are v particular & 2nite they are in heaven I have made many choc
    olate cakes over the years! It is easy; moist; the additions are endless - ie peanut butter icecream; shaved chocolate or just double cream & a good vanilla icecream. Thanks Dan! Cheers Sue

    Commenter
    Susan
    Location
    Albury
    Date and time
    August 23, 2014, 9:38PM
  • Sourdough is my passion & your book is my bible! Thank for sharing!!

    Commenter
    Susan
    Location
    Albury
    Date and time
    August 23, 2014, 9:42PM

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