Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: One 12-cup Bundt cake
Part chocolate cake, part molasses cake, with chunks of chocolate chips and soft, juicy, tender dates in every bite. The cake is moist, rich, and reads more chocolate-flavored with molasses undertones, in a pleasantly intense way, without being bitter the way some dark chocolate or molasses cakes become. The Baileys Irish Cream Glaze adds creaminess, richness, and a light sweetness and is the perfect compliment to the robust cake flavors. This is an easy, one-bowl, mixer-less cake batter to make on the fly.
For the Cake
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsulphered dark molasses (I use Grandma’s Original)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream (Greek yogurt may be substituted)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark may be used)
2 tablespoons brewed coffee, optional but recommended (leftover or cold is fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
3/4 heaping cup Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 12 to 15 average-sized dates, chopped)
3/4 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the Baileys Irish Cream Glaze
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream (bourbon, Kahlua, or Godiva liqueur may be substituted; if alcohol is not appropriate, cream or milk may be substituted)
2 to 3 cups+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened; optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cake – Preheat oven to 350F degrees and spray a 12-cup Bundt or tube cake pan with floured cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, granulated sugar, unsulphered dark molasses (use Blackstrap molasses at your own risk as it’s much more pungent and bitter), oil, sour cream, brown sugar, coffee (coffee brings out the flavor of chocolate and molasses and does not make the cake taste like coffee), vanilla, and whisk until mixture is combined.
Add the cocoa powder and whisk to incorporate, noting that it may be a bit challenging to get every last bit of cocoa powder incorporated and it’s is much easier using sifted cocoa powder. Even after whisking for a few minutes the batter may seem bubbly and slightly lumpy with trace bits of cocoa powder; this is okay and it will smooth out after adding the flour.
Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and whisk to combine until batter is smooth. Add the dates, chocolate chips, and stir to incorporate. Pour batter into prepared pan and give it a few firm wraps against the counter to release air bubbles. Bake for about 45 to 48 minutes, or until top of the cake has set and is not jiggly. The edges will have pulled away slightly from the sides of the pan and upon close examination they are browned (different than the inherent brown color of the cake), or a cake tester or wooden skewer comes out clean. While the cake bakes, the top surface will look bubbly (a chemical reaction between the sour cream, molasses, and baking soda), and there may even be some rising and falling of the edges and center, which is not a concern since this cake will be inverted.
Allow cake to cool in pan for about 15 minutes and then carefully invert it, and then place it onto a wire rack to finish cooling (Invert cake in a controlled manner by placing a cutting board over the Bundt pan and turning it upside down; rather than inverting cake directly over a wire rack and waiting for it to plop out, as it can release too quickly or too forcefully).
While the cake cools, make the Baileys Irish Cream Glaze – In a medium sized-bowl, combine Baileys, confectioners’ sugar, butter (optional but it keeps the glaze more satiny and prevents it from hardening into as crunchy of a glaze as it sets up over time), vanilla, and whisk until glaze is smooth and silky, playing with Baileys and sugar ratios to achieve desired consistency. Liberally drizzle glaze over cake and serve immediately. Extra glaze may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Cake may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days; based on food safety preferences, you may wish to store glazed cake in the refrigerator.