• 1½ cups Medjool or Magdool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

Toffee Sauce:

  • ¾ cups butter
  • 1½ cups soft brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, crushed English toffee

Makes: Serves 12 | Total Time: 50 minutes


  1. In a medium saucepan, put the dates and water together. Then cook over medium heat. Simmer together, stirring constantly until dates are mushy and the water absorbed.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Transfer to a large plate, cover, and set aside to cool completely. You can put in the freezer to speed things up. Meanwhile make the toffee sauce (directions below).
  3. Adjust the oven rack to lower middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray the bottom of a 9-inch pan, line with parchment paper. Then grease, flour, or spray over the rounds and sides of pan.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with both sugars until lightened in both texture and color. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. On lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture until combined. Do not overmix. Add the dates and mix gently on low speed until well combined.
  6. Pour all of the batter in the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The best way to test if it’s done is to insert a toothpick in cake’s center.
  8. Take cake out of oven, then reheat the toffee sauce until very hot. Poke holes all over the cake using a tooth pick or wooden skewer, then pour 1⁄3 of the sauce over cake. Leave the sauce to soak in for about 5 minutes, then turn the cake on to a serving platter. Pour another 1⁄3 of the sauce over the large cake. The remaining sauce is for serving on the side.
  9. Serve warm, topped with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some crushed English toffee, and more toffee sauce if desired.

Toffee Sauce:

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar, cream, and salt over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or heatproof rubber spatula.
  2. Bring to boil and simmer for about 1 minute.
  3. Remove from the heat and use according to directions above.


recipe_keelyAbout the Chef

Chef: Keely Barrera
Family: I’ve been married for 22 years. Rick and I have two boys and a mini goldendoodle.
Community: Rancho Santa Fe
Hobbies: Reading, cooking, working out
Favorite Local Activity: I love to run Del Mar Dog Beach or San Elijo State Beach.
About the Recipe: This is my favorite holiday dessert. The dates may initially seem off-putting to many people, but they add so much moisture and a richness that makes it delicious.
About the Chef: I found my passion for baking, cooking, and party planning when I began to volunteer at my children’s school to help raise money or celebrate special occasions. Many parents began asking for my help professionally and the seed was planted. Whether it’s teaching a cooking class, preparing a five-course meal for a private dinner party, or a fully catered function, I pay attention to every detail of every dish. Everything from dressings and marinades to the frosting on every cake is made from scratch. I am the personal chef behind Something Homemade.

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