East of Paris Bookstore

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cake from a Princess

In the "olden" days, when I went to the dentist, there was no novacaine and no nitrous oxide gas.  A trip to our dentist in Wisconsin was no laughing matter.  Years later, I learned what an interesting woman she was.  Women doctors and denstists were rare in the 1950s and 1960s.  Madame Shouisky was not only a dentist, she had emigrated from Russia, married a prince from one of Russia's oldest families, and had written a young people's book -- Ali of Baku -- about a boy who longed to be and became a doctor.  
She also gave my grandmother a recipe for my favorite cake:  a chocolate-date-pecan dream.  I made it last night to take to a birthday party this weekend.

1 cup butter (or ½ cup butter and ½ cup shortening)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¾  cups flour
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup hot water
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine dates, baking soda and hot water; set aside to cool. Sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and date mixture to the batter alternating about a third of a portion of each. Pour batter into a 9x13 inch cake pan (sprayed with a non-stick spray).  Sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips over the top and gently press into batter.  Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes.

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