Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Buena Vista Loaf Cake

Buena Vista Loaf Cake
Source: Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 2006 ed.), pg. 94.

Maida describes this cake as "almost a fruit cake but not as sweet". Since I can count the number of times I've eaten fruit cake on one hand, I can't reliably comment. I can say that I liked the taste and Michael thought it was great. It is loaded with fruits and nuts. This was another recipe where I kept thinking it could not possibly turn out right but in the end, it did! This is a very heavy and dense cake.

Once again, I had to really watch this in our super-fast oven. The top browned more than I would have liked but on the other hand, she states that the top will be crunchy. This was ready in 1 hr. 10 min. (the recipe calls for 1 1/2 hours). As always, ovens vary.

Michael sliced this up and arranged it beautifully on a platter. I took this to the monthly Master Gardener meeting/luncheon where there was a ton of desserts already on the table. I had to leave early and get back to work so I did not get any feedback. I hope they liked it!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 TBS unsweeted cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
  • 1 stick sweet butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp dry instant expresso or instant coffee
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs (large or extra-large)
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 8 oz. (1 c.) dates, cut in half
  • 3 oz. (2/3 c.) raisins
  • 7 oz. (2 c.) walnut and/or pecan halves 
  • 6 oz. (1 c.) semisweet chocolate morsels
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan and dust with fine, dry bread crumbs.*

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cocoa. 

Cream the butter in a mixer and add the vanilla, instant expresso,
and sugar, beating well after each addition.

Add the eggs one at a time. On low speed, add half the sifted ingredients.
Use a rubber spatula to scrap down the bowl.
Gradually beat in the milk and the remaining dry ingredients.
Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.
Stir in the dates and mix well. Add the raisins, nuts and chocolate morsels.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake stand for about 10 minutes before carefully removing it from the pan. Let the cake completely cool on a wire rack. The crust will be crisp and crunchy. Use a serrated knife to slice.

My notes: I had never heard of dusting a baking pan with bread crumbs but Maida swears by it. I was going to try this but forgot to include them on my last shopping list. I will on the next recipe. I used flour instead and, just to be safe, lined the bottom of the pan with a piece of wax paper. It came out fine.

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