Chop the dates into small pieces and place into a bowl.
Pour boiling water over the dates and let soak for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, butter and flour two 8-10″ cake pans and line with parchment paper.
Using a freestanding or handheld electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy (making sure not to over mix). Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl and mix well on medium speed after each is added.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the egg and sugar mixture in three batches, then mix on medium-high until all the ingredients are combined and batter is smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Add the vanilla extract to the date and water mixture and mix until combined, then add to the cake mixture and fold in by hand, making sure the dates are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Equally fill the prepared cake pans and bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick cleanly comes out of the cakes when tested. Cool slightly before removing from pans, then let rest on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting (or else you’ll have a frosting mess on your hands!).
While cake is baking, using a freestanding or hand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar in batches to the butter and mix on a low speed until sandy in texture and no large lumps of butter remain.
Still mixing on a low speed, slowly add in the milk and mix well. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and smooth. Finally, add in the caramel and mix thoroughly.
Place one cake on a plate and cover the top with frosting. Then add the second cake and frost with an initial thin crumb coat base (this helps eliminate pesky crumbs from getting on to the final layer of frosting). After finishing the crumb coat, apply a generous amount of frosting for the final layer, and smooth over the entire cake. Top with toffee.
This recipe was originally written by Hummingbird Bakery for their Cake Days cookbook. All of the measurements are based on weight, which I find to be a more accurate way of baking, and actually prefer it. Kitchen scales are pretty cheap and can be purchased for around $10.
This recipe makes one small 10″ round cake. If you desire a taller cake, double the recipe, and use four 10″ round cake pans.
This recipe also makes 12-16 cupcakes. Bake time remains the same.