Chocolate Chip Date Cake – A Chemist/Baker in the Kitchen

December 2nd, 2009 / comments 4

Last week, as I was serving my favorite chocolate cake, I remembered that my fascination with chemical reactions began when I was eight. Every Saturday morning, I watched Mr. Wizard explain the science behind ordinary things on our fuzzy black and white television. He said that chemical reactions made cakes rise. I wanted to be a chemist at work in the kitchen. It was time to move on from transforming copper saucepans from dull brown to garish, peachy pink with lemon and salt.

Pt Boat 01 c egbert Chocolate Chip Date Cake   A Chemist/Baker in the Kitchen

I was ready for more than powering my green plastic boat across the sink with a chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar. Curdling milk and making my sister cry by adding blue food coloring to her milk were child’s play.

I would become a baker/chemist. Kitchen experiments would be well received if the end results were sweet and tasty. After all, my sister always smiled when she saw a cake. My first cakes began as powder in red and white boxes from the grocery store. I measured water, broke eggs and mixed. Not much chemistry there. I moved onto the more complicated angel food cake mix and enjoyed transforming white powder into fluffy peaks using a primitive, hand operated, eggbeater. That was a bit more fun but I wanted to really make a cake, I wanted to “Start from Scratch!”

Pt egg beater 02 c egbert Chocolate Chip Date Cake   A Chemist/Baker in the KitchenThe first cake I made from scratch was a Chocolate Wacky Cake. I knew that this was the recipe for me when I read the part about creating a volcano with vinegar and baking soda to give the cake its ‘lift’. I had found a way to have both a chemical reaction and a sweet reward. I branched out and created brownies and pound cakes in my search for even more interesting recipes.

When I was nine, I saw a recipe for a walnut, chocolate chip, date cake in a small cookbook from the grocery store. I had only eaten dates at Christmas time and couldn’t imagine how the cake would taste, but with chocolate chips and walnuts, it sounded delicious and it was. I made it a couple of times before I lost the recipe and moved on to the challenge of perfecting tapioca.

ZPD Birthday Cake Chocolate Chip Date Cake   A Chemist/Baker in the Kitchen

Nearly ten years later, I saw a recipe for a chocolate, date cake in a newspaper column. With minor adjustments, this is the cake I have baked for many parties. I always use a Bundt pan and slather the cooled cake with unsweetened, heavy cream that has been beaten to stiff peaks. Last week, I topped the cream with sliced strawberries and promised our guests that I would share the recipe. Here’s how I did it:
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