Raisin-Date Cakes

Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies (upper left), Raisin-Date Cakes (upper right), Pistachio Divinity (lower center)

These crowd-pleasing Raisin-Date Cakes are topped with a rich Orange–Cream Cheese Frosting. Pictured with Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies and Pistachio Divinity.

Raisin-Date Cakes
Makes 30
  • 1 cup chopped sugared dates
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped golden raisins
  • 1 cup very hot water
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Orange–Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: orange curls
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 15x11-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray again.
  • In a medium heatproof bowl, cover dates and raisins with 1 cup hot water. Let cool to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating until incorporated.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with date mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, stirring well after each addition.
  • Using an offset spatula, spread batter in an even layer in prepared pan. Tap pan on counter to settle batter and release air bubbles.
  • Bake until edges of cake are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
  • Transfer cake to a cutting surface. Using a sharp knife, cut cake into 2 (11x7½-inch) pieces.
  • Using an offset spatula, spread a thick even layer of Orange–Cream Cheese Frosting onto one cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting in an even layer onto top cake layer. Refrigerate until very cold, 3 to 4 hours.
  • Using a long, sharp knife and pressing downward, cut cake into 42 (2x11/4-inch) rectangles, cleaning knife between each cut.
  • Garnish with orange curls, if desired. Serve immediately.

Orange–Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 2½ cups
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl, beat together all ingredients with a mixer at medium-low speed until combined. Increase mixer speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Use immediately.

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