I just want to momentarily reiterate how delicious this cake was. Even if you don't think you like dates, you will like this cake. (Of course, it didn't hurt that we used some of the best dates I've ever tasted.) But truly, this was so good, so dense and chocolatey, it might even be Matt's birthday cake (although he just said he thinks funfetti will win out in the end).
Chocolate Date Cake adapted from Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook
2 cups water
2 teaspoons baking soda
14 oz. dates (khadrawys if you can find them)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (or more if you'd like to reserve some to sprinkle on top of the finished cake)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (or more if you'd like to reserve some to sprinkle on top of the finished cake)
1 or 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional)
Remove and discard the pits from the dates. Bring water to a boil with the baking soda. Add the dates to the water and remove from heat. Let them soak for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
Cream butter with sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated. Add the salt and then the flour 1/2 cup at a time until just combined.
Drain the dates and add them to the mixture. Add the chocolate and pecans and mix until evenly distributed. Transfer the batter to the cake pan and using a rubber spatula, spread it to the edges of the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes (When it's done, the edges will be set while the center will be slightly wobbly and pretty molten when you cut into it) (and pretty awesome). Finish by topping it off with a bit of chopped chocolate, pecans, and a dusting of the powdered sugar, if using. Most importantly though: serve warm!