For my friend LV’s annual Christmas Eve dinner (at her mother’s old-fashioned Columbia prof apartment on Morningside Heights) I made this dark loaf cake from a blog called Pastry Studio I’d never seen before. I found it via Tastespotting. It was really delicious, moist and intriguing, with an air of festive richness despite its simplicity (well, it was just one layer and no icing; it did demand a surprising number of bowls). It rose nice & high. Using a not-too-big loaf pan helps. Unlike any other recipe I’d ever seen, it calls for the baking soda, the only leavening, to be put in with the dates soaking in coffee, early in the process. I don’t know how that can work — maybe the soda doesn’t get active till it meets the acid of the brown sugar? Or of the yogurt I used in place of milk (I hardly ever have milk but almost always have yogurt)? Maybe Joe Pastry could explain it. I can only attest that it works.
Chocolate date (coffee sherry walnut) cake