It is the 20th and that means it is time for another Cake Slice Bakers cake of the month. I chose this sticky date cake, but not because I was interested in it all too much. I mean, I love dates (as you may remember from these cookies) but I have never made caramel sauce so I decided that this absolutely needed to happen!
I was actually a little frustrated with the sauce and had to laugh at myself when I discovered part of the reason why. The first time I made it it was incredible salty, and not in the amazing way that caramel sea salt sauce should be. I tasted it frequently and did many adjustments (resulting in a tummy ache for my bariatric sized stomach) and it produced a less salty but still oddly incorrect final product. I was beginning to lose hope for this recipe when I finally realized the critical mistake the next day: I used salted butter! All the times I preach to always use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in your final product, yada, yada, yada…and I made such a simple mistake.
I was half laughing and half kicking myself as I tried a second time. Instead of grabbing the butter keeper on the counter I used an unsalted stick out of the fridge. This time the results were significantly better but still too salty. I double checked my ingredients and my measurements and came to the realization that the recipe was just off, at least in my opinion. The third go around I reduced the amount of salt from .25 oz (1.25 tsp) to 1 tsp and the outcome was just perfect! At this point I was out of cake and my husband had returned from a business trip so I stopped at the orchard and picked up a few apples for him to have with it, to which he happily has been snacking on since.
The recipe called for this cake to be baked in a water bath, a step I intended to do and somehow completely skipped over when it came time to baking. It is not too sweet and delightfully moist, something I was very surprised by given my oversight. There is something so nice about a simple cake (although I did miss giving it a bright dose of sprinkles) and this one delivers on unique flavors in a one-pan recipe that comes together quickly. If you don’t like dates though, just go ahead and drink up this sauce. Either way it is the perfect fall treat! Check out the other Cake Slice Baker’s choices here:
Sticky Date Cake with Caramel Sea Salt Sauce
Author: The Ruby Kitchen
Adapted from: World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey
Notes: I recommend adding the Caramel Sea Salt sauce to each slice when serving, instead of pouring it over the cake if you are only serving a slice or two at a time.
6.5 oz. pitted Medjool dates
1 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1.25 cups self-rising flour
4 Tbsp butter
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
for the Caramel Sea Salt Sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup unsalted butter (8 Tbsp)
1 tsp finely ground sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch round cake pan.
2. In a medium sized sauce pan, cook the dates in the water until they are the consistency of jam, mashing them with the back of a spoon while they cook to break them down. Remove from heat, add the baking soda and mix well.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and mix.
4. Pour the water into a prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, until firm to the touch in the middle.
5. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. To make the caramel sea salt sauce, combine the ingredients in a pan and bring to a gentle boil for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Allow to cool several minutes to thicken before pouring over cooled cake.
7. Store cake at room temperature up to 3 days. Store sauce in the refrigerator up to one week.