Although it's pretty much the warmest winter on record here in Michigan (only one day below 20 degrees so far, which is crazy), it's still winter. It's cold and gloomy and that call for comfort food. Comfort food in the form of this Caramel Ginger Date Cake.
This Caramel Ginger Date Cake combines the warm flavors of dates, crystallized ginger, and a touch of cinnamon. Combined with the goodness of vanilla bean cream cheese frosting and a drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce, it's pure heaven!
You'll want to start with making the salted caramel sauce! This is a small-batch recipe, making enough caramel that you'll have some to drizzle over your slices cake (a must)! It's completely delicious and keeps well in the refrigerator, so feel free to double or triple the recipe! 😀
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All that said, you can opt for a store-bought salted caramel sauce and it will still be completely delicious!
You can use whichever type of date you prefer in the cake. I use as many organic ingredients as I can, so I purchased my dates online here.
I just love crystallized ginger! It’s sweet and spicy and adds fantastic texture! I chop mine fairly small, both to better distribute the flavor throughout the cake and to make sure it doesn’t overwhelm an individual bite. If you’re looking for crystallized ginger, you can find it here.
You know me, vanilla bean paste is in everything I make! Delicious and more economical than whole vanilla beans, this ingredient is my go-to for an extra punch of flavor. You can find it online here. If you prefer to substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.
So, while I'm still waiting on enough snow to cover the grass (crazy, seriously), I still have this Caramel Ginger Date Cake to celebrate winter. 🙂
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Caramel Ginger Date Cake
Salted Caramel Sauce (see note):
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced & at room temperature
- ¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- ¾ teaspoon fleur de sel (or other coarse sea salt)
Ginger Date Cake:
- 1 cup dates, finely chopped (about 4 oz pitted dates; see note)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1¼ cups flour
- ¼ cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (see note)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (½ stick)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Pour sugar into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk, and keep whisking, as sugar melts. It will clump and you'll think you're doing it all wrong. You're not. 🙂
- Once sugar is melted, stop whisking and let sugar cook until it is deep amber in color. *Carefully* add butter (mixture will bubble!) and whisk to incorporate.
- Remove mixture from the heat. Add cream (carefully!) and whisk until smooth. Add salt and stir to incorporate.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8"x8" pan and set aside. If you'd like to remove the cake from the pan whole (like I did), line the pan with parchment paper (that sticks up to be used as handles later) before greasing.
- In a large heatproof bowl, combine chopped dates and baking soda. Pour boiling water over the mixture, trying to ensure the dates are all covered. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes to soften the dates.
- In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, crystallized ginger, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, salt). Set aside.
- Once the dates are softened, add the butter and sugar to the date mixture. Stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. (If there isn't enough residual heat to do this, you can put the bowl in the microwave on 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until the mixture comes together.)
- Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. *If you had to use the microwave in the previous step, be sure the mixture has cooled enough that it won't scramble your eggs before you add them!!*
- Add the dry ingredients to the date mixture and stir until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Combine butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until smooth and creamy.
- Add sifted powdered sugar and mix to combine. Add vanilla bean paste (see note) and stir until incorporated.
- Frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting. I used room-temperature salted caramel sauce to make the design on the top of the cake. Drizzle with warm salted caramel sauce as desired.Enjoy!
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate.