Chocolate Date Cake with Coconut-Cognac Sauce

Recipe courtesy Jackie Riley
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 35 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: 30 min
Cook: 35 min
YIELD: 12 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 4 dates (about 3 ounces), preferably Medjool, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cognac
  • Slightly heaping 1/2 cup whole, skinned almonds, toasted and ground
  • 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 12 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Butter, for greasing the ramekins
  • Chocolate-Almond Wafer, recipe follows
  • Coconut-Cognac Sauce, recipe follows
CHOCOLATE-ALMOND WAFER:
  • 16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup whole, skinned almonds, toasted and ground
COCONUT-COGNAC SAUCE:
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
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Directions

Combine the dates and cognac in a bowl and let macerate about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the macerated dates, almonds, and coconut. Mix until the ingredients come together into a paste.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the melted chocolate into the date mixture and set aside.

In another bowl, whip together the egg whites and salt until they just begin to form soft peaks. While slowly adding the sugar, continue whipping the whites until they form firm peaks. Fold in the cocoa, cardamom, and ginger until just combined. Working in 3 batches, gently fold the whipped egg whites into the date-chocolate mixture until just combined.

Scoop chocolate batter into buttered ramekins or molds. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out dry, about 12 minutes. Lower the oven to 325 degrees F.

To serve, unmold the cakes onto a baking sheet and top each with a chilled chocolate-almond wafer. Put the cakes into the oven and bake until the wafer just melts, about 15 seconds. Spoon a small pool of sauce onto plates, and gently place the cakes into the sauce. Serve.
Put the chocolate into a bowl. Bring the cream to a gentle simmer, pour over the chocolate, and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Fold in the spices and nuts. Spread the chocolate batter evenly onto a silicone mat or wax paper-lined baking sheet and chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Using a round cookie cutter, cut the wafer into discs that are slightly larger than the top of the cakes.

Yield: about 12 wafers
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, reduced and thickened.

Yield: about 3 cups

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