This is a torte so it doesn’t have much height, but what it lacks in height, it makes up in taste. Something magical happens when you use dates in cooking or baking. Sometime they dissolve into a beautiful paste that invisibly adds immense flavor and texture to foods, other times they provide the sweet to offset the savory. This recipe is one of my favorites and is sometimes included on my menus at the various schools I teach in.

It comes together nicely and is great to present with the sauce. While I sometimes experiment (meaning it may not work to my expectations) with baking recipes – wet to dry proportions as opposed to flavorings, you can vary the taste by changing or adding flavoring ingredients. I’ve made this many times and will sometimes add dark chocolate chips to the dough before baking. I’ve also added sliced almonds to boost the almond flavoring of the torte. So feel free to experiment with the flavorings.

The caramel sauce easy to make. Unlike when making candy – which can be challenging due to temperature needs etc, this is a sauce which will be poured on top of the cake. Whether it hardens or not – let me see – cream, butter, sugar it will be delicious!, so don’t worry too much about it. Just be careful when adding the cream as it will bubble up greatly and will burn you terribly if you let it get on your skin. I recommend using a long handled whisk to protect your hands and please take it off the fire before adding the cream. The sauce will thicken as it cools so remember – deliciousness abounds with this product!

Bring the cake to the table on a rimmed plate, pour some of the warm caramel sauce on top and leave extra for those who wish to indulge (pig out) on the sauce. Sprinkle the Maldon sea salt flakes on top of the sauce and you have just taken this to the next level. A great dessert that doesn’t take much time to make but will make your family and friends think you spent hours on it. Only you need to know! As always – enjoy!

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chopped pitted dates
1 cup (250 mL) boiling water
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) ground almonds
1/4 cup (60 mL) plain ground unsalted crackers or panko
2 tbsp. (30 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
4 large eggs

Toffee Sauce:
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream 35%
Pinch Kosher salt
Maldon sea salt for sprinkling on top of the caramel

Preheat the oven to 350f and grease a 9” springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper
In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to boil, add the dates, boil for 5 minutes and turn off the heat
Stir to break up the dates slightly and set aside to cool
In a food processor, pulse together almonds, crackers, sugar and cinnamon until combined – transfer to a small bowl – don’t wash the processor
Add the dates to the processor and purée until smooth, transfer to a large bowl
Beat in eggs, one at a time, stir in almond mixture
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top
Bake until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 – 35 minutes
Let the cake cool for 15 minutes then remove the cake from the pan, remove the parchment paper and place on a rimmed cake plate
Make the toffee sauce
In a deep non-stick saucepan, combine sugar with butter
Cook, whisking, over medium heat until sugar is dissolved
Continue to cook without stirring but brushing down side of pan often with pastry brush dipped in cold water, until amber in color, about 5 minutes
Remove the pot from the heat and using a long handled whisk, win the cream and salt – CAUTION – the mixture will sputter and steam so keep your face away from the pot – Return to the fire and bring to a boil whisking, until thickened, about 4 minutes – it will thicken more as it cools so don’t panic if it isn’t thickening up right away
Let cool slightly before pouring in circles on top of the cake until covered – sprinkle the Maldon sea salts onto the caramel – do this at the table – it’s a Kodak moment!
Slice and serve with additional sauce
You have just made everyone really really happy!