When I moved away from New York City, I took quite a few weeks categorizing and revisiting all the things I’d miss; Central Park on a sunny weekday, Soho’s cobblestone streets and wrought iron architecture, all the beautiful strangers, and date cake from Moto in Brooklyn.

All those other topics have been discussed at great length, so let me just take a moment to extoll the extensive virtues of date cake. Firstly, let me make it clear that I don’t even like dates, and yet, Moto’s date cake is quite possibly one of my favorite desserts.

Anytime an opportunity arose to hit up this speakeasy-esque, French-American joint nestled under the JMZ tracks in Brooklyn, I was all over it. And let’s face it, it didn’t take much…

“It’s your birthday?! Moto.”

“Your parents are here visiting?! Moto.”

“It’s Tuesday?! Moto.”

The atmosphere is just about as perfect as you can get – totally secret-feeling, but welcoming. Cozy with a small, but stellar menu of savories (Oh, hello herb-encrusted pork ribs). And my god, the date cake. Warm, dense, yet succulent cake slathered in buttery toffee sauce, served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream… Gah! I would stuff myself silly with the aformentioned pork ribs or perhaps the Chicken Dijonnaise served with a big bowl of delicious mashed taters, loosen the belt and then order a big ol’ slab o’ date cake. I think a few times, I even ordered an extra one to go! 🙂

And then I moved away and thought I’d never achieve this culinary bliss again. But I have! After the jump, a recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding, which is so close to Moto’s date cake, it’s possibly criminal!

Started out by chopping up 1 lb of pitted dates…

Added 1 1/2 tsp baking soda…

Stirred it up so the dates were evenly coated.

Then stirred in 2 1/4 cups boiling water and set aside. It looks cray-cray, but believe me, it smelled delish!

While the dates did their thing, I combined 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar with 1/2 cup butter.

Creamed until light and fluffy.

Then I added 2 extra large, room temp eggs. The first time I made this, I followed the recipe and used 3 large eggs. It worked fine. But this time, I only had extra large and it tasted even closer to Moto’s! So it’ll be extra large from here on out for my date cake!


Added 1 2/3 cup flour…

And the dates with their liquid…

Mixed it all up until well combined and poured it all into a 9×13 inch baking pan!

Baked at 350F for 35-40 minutes until…

Mmm! Was looking good! But there was still a little work to do… toffee sauce! First, I slowly melted 1/2 cup butter.

Then I added 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar, and 2 tsp vanilla…

Brought it to a light boil, stirring all the while. Once it boiled, turned the heat down and simmered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

And before I knew it, it was time to chow down!

Mmm… Date Cake!

Recipe adapted from Mommie Cooks