The naughty Catholic schoolgirl in us loves the idea of eating something called Little Baby Jesus Cake, so we’re sharing the recipe for the dessert, which could be great for celebrating Jesus’s upcoming birthday. The cake is a specialty at Vesta Trattoria and Winebar, the newish Astoria Italian spot we covered recently in our dining newsletter, and which received a favorable review yesterday from the Daily News.
Why is it called the Little Baby Jesus Cake, or “La Torta del Piccolo Bambino Gesu Cristo” in Italian? Prior to the restaurant’s opening, owner Giuseppe Falco held a dessert tasting. When one of his friends tried the cake, he exclaimed “Little Baby Jesus” as to express just how good it tasted. The twist on a sticky toffee date cake isn’t “a typical Italian dessert,” says Falco, but “Italians have a long history of using dried fruit in their desserts, and this is our version.”
After the jump, Chef Michelle Vido shares the recipe for Little Baby Jesus Cake.
Baby Jesus Cake
1 cup dried dates, rehydrated in 1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons softened butter
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ cup flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″ square baking dish.
Rehydrate the dates in hot water. Add baking soda and puree in food processor.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the vanilla and baking powder. Mix in the date puree, then flour. Pour into baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted is free of cake.
Pour hot sauce (recipe below) over cake and serve with vanilla gelato and unsweetened whipped cream.
Baby Jesus Sauce
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
Melt together until emulsified.