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Friday, November 13, 2009

Picnic Cake

I don't remember my Grandma making this cake very often, but I remember making it with her at least once. She didn't learn to drive until she was well into her sixties, after my grandfather passed away. So I'm quite certain that the two of us (and maybe a couple of my sisters or some cousins) walked to the grocery store to get the ingredients that she was missing. I expected not to like this cake because dates sounded unappealing to me, but I never even knew they were there. When I re-discovered this recipe a few years ago, it was like spending that day with Grandma all over again.

This is now a family favorite. It's a particularly unhealthy dessert (I've actually cut down the fat a bit from the original recipe), so we try to eat it as an occasional treat. For some real indulgence, try warming it up and topping it with a spoonful of whipped cream.

Picnic Cake
1 cup pitted, chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp. soda

Boil water, then pour over dates. Stir in baking soda and let mixture cool.

8 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts (either walnuts or pecans)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix above ingredients well. Add the date mixture to this batter and fold all together. Pour into a greased 9" x 13" pan. Sprinkle with the following:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes.

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