Perfect Hostess Gift: Date, Walnut & Cocoa Nibs Cake

One of the lessons my parents taught me at an early age is to NEVER EVER SHOW UP EMPTY HANDED when visiting someone. I feel like this lesson is something that unfortunately not everyone has learned. And that's a shame.

Whether you are coming over to a dinner a friend is preparing, or stopping by for tea and dessert, make an effort to bring something thoughtful. It could be a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, a bar of fancy soap, or a dish you have made yourself or picked up at a store. This could cost as little as $5, but will show your hosts that you are happy to see them and appreciate the time they took to clean their house and prepare a meal.

A few weeks ago I came over to my friend Sylvie's house for homemade Vietnamese food, and decided to bring something she and her husband could have for breakfast the next day or something to go with their coffee or tea. That's how I came up with Perfect Hostess Gift: Date, Walnut & Cocoa Nibs Cake.

Perfect Hostess Gift: Date, Walnut & Cocoa Nibs Cake
Adapted from Taste of Home Orange Date Bread
Makes 4 mini loaves

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla puree
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dried dates
1/2 cup roasted cocoa nibs

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla puree and mix to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternating with buttermilk.
5. Fold in walnuts, dates and cocoa nibs.
6. Lightly butter 4 individual loaf pans and sprinkle with flour. Divide the cake batter among the 4 pans and bake for 55 minutes.
7. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing them from the pans.

I wrapped the cakes in plastic wrap and then in parchment paper and tied the bundles with pretty pink "ribbons" which are actually the handles of Ann Taylor Loft bags! Talk about recycling ;)

These cakes came out tender, slightly sweet and had great texture from the chewy dates and crunchy walnuts and cocoa nibs.

Tell me what YOU like to bring over when you are visiting friends!


Megan said...

The packaging is so cute!