8 - 12 people
- 1 lb (450 g) dried Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 2½ cups (625 mL) water
- 2½ cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) baking soda
- 1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
- ¾ cup (175 mL) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (75 mL) packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped Lindt Excellence 85% Dark Chocolate
- Vanilla meringue buttercream:
- 4 egg whites
- 1¼ cup (300 mL) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 1¼ cup (300 mL) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- Chocolate caramel drizzle:
- 1¼ cup (300 mL) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 mL) water
- ¾ cup (175 mL) 35% whipping cream
- 80 g Lindt Excellence 85% Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
- ⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) salt
Heat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease three 7-inch (18 cm) diameter springform pans; set aside. Combine dates and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until dates are tender and about 1/3 cup (75 mL) liquid remains. Transfer to food processor and pulse until smooth; set aside. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Using electric mixer, cream butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla; stir in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides after each addition. Stir in one-third of flour mixture; stir in half of date purée, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Repeat additions of flour and date purée; stir in remaining flour mixture.
Stir in chopped chocolate. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes or until tester inserted in centre of cakes comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Let cool for 10 minutes in pans, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.
Buttercream: In a double boiler over medium-low heat, whisk egg whites with sugar until sugar has fully dissolved and instant-read thermometer reads 160°F (70°C). Remove from heat.
Add vanilla and salt to egg white mixture; using electric mixer, whip until meringue holds stiff peaks and mixture is at room temperature. Add butter, one cube at a time, beating well after each addition. (If mixture looks like it is separating, keep beating until it looks smooth again.)
When butter has been incorporated, reduce to medium-high speed; beat for 2 minutes or until silky smooth. (Use immediately, or refrigerate briefly if buttercream is too soft.) Spoon buttercream into piping bag fitted with large tip.
Drizzle: In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Turn heat to medium-high; bring to a boil, and boil without stirring for 4 to 5 minutes, or until sugar mixture is deep gold. Remove from heat.
Working quickly and being careful not to splash, stir in cream. Let cool slightly; add chocolate and salt, stirring until smooth. Let sauce cool to room temperature.
Assembly: Trim domed tops from cake layers. Transfer one layer to cake board, plate or serving platter; drizzle with one third of the chocolate sauce. Pipe a circle of buttercream around cake, about 1/2 inch (1 cm) from edge; fill with more buttercream. Top with second cake layer, drizzle with sauce and pipe buttercream over top.
Add final cake layer; pipe remaining buttercream over top and side of cake, using a spatula to spread evenly. Drizzle remaining chocolate sauce over top and side of cake. Top with Lindt truffles and chocolate squares.