- Prepare Burnt-Sugar Syrup. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
- In a large bowl beat shortening with a mixer on medium 30 seconds. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat to combine. Add 2/3 cup of the water and beat until moistened; then beat on medium to high 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/3 cup water, the eggs, 3 Tbsp. of the Burnt-Sugar Syrup, and the vanilla; beat 2 minutes more. Spread batter into the prepared pans.
- Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans; cool on wire racks. Prepare Burnt-Sugar Frosting; set aside 1/4 cup frosting for Date Filling. Prepare Date Filling. Spread filling between layers; frost cake with remaining Burnt-Sugar Frosting. Press walnuts onto side of cake.
From the Test Kitchen
*If you have a sweet tooth, use 3 Tbsp. Burnt-Sugar Syrup in the frosting; if you like a "touch of bitter" with the sweet, increase to 4 Tbsp.
- In a medium saucepan combine dates, water, sugar, and salt; bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Prepare Burnt-Sugar Frosting. Fold 1/4 cup Burnt-Sugar Frosting and walnuts into the date mixture. Spread between thoroughly cooled cake layers.
- In a large skillet heat the sugar over medium heat until sugar starts to melt, shaking skillet occasionally (do not stir). When sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low and cook until all of the sugar is melted and turned to a very dark amber color, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; carefully add the boiling water (mixture will bubble). Heat and stir until all the sugar dissolves. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 7 minutes. Let cool.
- In a 3-quart top of a double boiler combine sugar, egg whites, water, Burnt-Sugar Syrup, and salt. Beat with a mixer on low 30 seconds. Place the pan over boiling water (upper pan should not touch the water). Cook, beating constantly on low, 7 to 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F when inserted in mixture, stopping beaters and quickly scraping bottom and side of pan every 3 minutes to prevent sticking. Remove pan from the heat. Beat on high about 4 minutes or until frosting is fluffy and holds soft peaks. Add vanilla and beat until spreading consistency, about 3 minutes. Set aside 1/4 cup of the frosting for Date Filling.
Nutrition Facts (Burnt-Sugar Cake)
- Per serving:
- 617 kcal ,
- 18 g fat
- (3 g sat. fat ,
- 8 g polyunsaturated fat ,
- 5 g monounsaturated fat ),
- 31 mg chol. ,
- 341 mg sodium ,
- 113 g carb. ,
- 3 g fiber ,
- 86 g sugar ,
- 7 g pro.