We heart Frances' Lumberjack cake so much, we made it No. 92 on The Big Eat 2011: 100 Things to Try Before You Die. This coconut-enriched cake doesn't require much sugar thanks to the dates and pears that also give this confection a nice, moist crumb. To serve, dust a little powdered sugar over the top, and maybe scoop ice cream on the side like the restaurant does.
Makes a 9-inch cake
1 cup water
1 cup pitted dates
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (4.5 ounces) butter, softened
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (50 grams) coconut flakes
1 pear or apple, peeled and medium-diced
1. In a saucepan, bring water and dates to a boil, and then whisk in baking soda. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
2. In a bowl, mix and sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, cream butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and egg. Slowly add room temperature date mixture until incorporated. Then slowly add dry ingredients until blended, careful not to over-mix. Fold in coconut and pears with a large rubber spatula.
4. Pour mixture into a greased springform pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Rotate pan in oven, and then continue to bake in for 10 minutes. Insert a clean toothpick into the middle of the cake, and if it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, rotate pan and continue to bake in 10-minute increments.
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Image by Erin Kunkel