Snack Happy - Date Cake

My cousin and her family visited us over the weekend for what was intended to be brunch, but ended up being lupper (lunch + supper) instead! Later, on an impulse we decided to bake a cake for tea. My little niece loves baking so it was nice to enlist her in the task as well.

I came across this recipe a few months back and have made this cake so many times since then that I can probably make it in my sleep. Though I assure you, I wouldn't choose to bake during those precious hours.

It is a snack cake - not too sweet or rich. The cardamom and brown sugar give it a very Indian dessert-like taste. The recipe is very, very flexible. I have made it without eggs, added walnuts instead of almonds and replaced vanilla extract with rose essence and it still obliged with great taste.

So with my niece helping out with measuring the ingredients and my cousin helping out with eating the dates (and whisking the batter in case she reads this!) I baked this cake again last weekend.


Cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
3/4 cup dates, chopped & pitted
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
egg substitute/ banana/ flax seeds etc. (see link below)
Topping -
1/4 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
1-2 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Spoon 2 cups flour into measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine flour with baking powder, soda, salt and spices. Mix then make a well in the center.

Cream butter, sugar, applesauce and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Mix oil, water and baking powder in another bowl (or eggs if using) and add to mixture. Whisk thoroughly until well blended (use a hand blender if you have one). Add to flour and stir until just moist.

Toss in the dates and spoon batter into prepared pan. Mix almonds with sugar and sprinkle evenly over top of cake. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in centre comes clean.


Verdict - The adults loved the cake - it's perfect with tea/ coffee and makes a filling snack. My niece said the softened dates tasted like choc chips and wanted to bake it again so that was positive feedback I think!

* 1 egg = 1 1/2 tbsp oil + 1 1/2 tbsp water + 1 tsp baking powder. Mix only when ready to use. You can use this for all 3 eggs or use half a banana for added flavor like I did (tastes better).
* This site has great information on substituting ingredients in baking.
* Entry for the wonderful event Little Chefs in the Kitchen hosted by Trupti at The Spice who loved Me.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy, Ashwini. The eHow link is a keeper! Thanks for that, too!

4:39 PM  
Blogger Brilynn said...

I've got a bunch of dates that I've been wondering what I should do with, this looks perfect!

6:27 PM  
Blogger FH said...

Looks delicious and sounds easy enough!:))Great entry.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Nupur said...

It looks divine, Ashwini! I remember a date and walnut cake that my mom would always make when I was growing up. Cooking with are giving your niece some really fond memories for a lifetime!

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi after a long time Ash. Some great recipes you have here in the last couple of weeks and the Round-up of the Coconut recipes is just too good.


11:33 AM  
Blogger Nidhi said...

Geart Entry for Trupti's event... The cake is perfect for evening snack with coffee. Picture is beautiful as usual, I also liked your Idea of substituting an egg. Good for vegetarians too!

11:39 AM  
Blogger Sia said...

wow ashwini... its really refreshing to see ur blog girl:)

1:02 PM  
Blogger Manjula said...

Mouthwatering. I love dates and cakes. Glad that you have substitutes for egg. I just try to avoid those cholesterol.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Thanks Manisha. It was your success with egg white in the orange bread that encouraged me to omit eggs in this one :-)

Brilynn, Asha, Sia - thanks

Nupur - The cake actually reminded me of something my mom used to make in her old temperamental Bajaj in India too :-)

Nidhi, Manjula - Yes, I didn't like the idea of 3 eggs in a snack cake so decided to try without them. No problems at all with either the batter or taste.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Anh said...

Beautiful idea! Love your cake Ashwini.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Menu Today said...

Hi Ashwini,
Sweet looking cake!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Suma Gandlur said...

The cake looks delicious. I am going to try this one definitely.Good entry.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lupper!!!! LOL LOL!!! That was a good one!!!

The cake looks super :)

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely entry Ashwini..Cardamom and that's a heavenly combination, I can just imagine the aroma wafting from your oven!


7:38 AM  
Blogger J said...

Your cake is delicious, and oh, it brought back fond memories too.... Last month I was in India and my sister baked a date and carrot cake for me. Your recipe made me happy and wistful at the same time!

10:03 AM  
Blogger Seema Bhat said...

How lovely they look. Loved your version of date cake. I make it in a different actually very different way. Gottu try your version soon. They look nice and spongy.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Inji Pennu said...

Do you get good dates there? We dont get good dates here. The dates I get here is very very hard :(. dont know whether it will come out good with the dates I get that tea near the cake?

8:07 PM  
Blogger Krithika said...

Love the combination of dates, cardamom... has to be good. Lovely pics as always

7:48 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

WP, MT, Coffee, Trupti, Krithika - thanks

Seema, Suma - let me know how you like it

Jyothsna - your sister's version sounds good! Glad it brought back good memories.

Inji- Don't even go near those plastic pouches of dates in supermarkets. Try specialty stores, Wholefoods, TJs kind of shops. They even have medjool dates which are truly awesome. Its coffee btw.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Have been checking out your blog for sometime now. I am not so much of a foodie i.e. I am more of a quick to cook and quick to clean up after person.
However, your mouthwatering recipes may convert me into something else:)
Looks like we are from the same community because the foods and particularly the names you mention are the ones my mum mentions too: Saraswat cooking is really great.
Keep up the great blog

12:28 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Hi Bhakti, thanks for your kind words. I am a no fuss cook myself but I like to experiment sometimes too. I agree, Saraswat cooking is so elegant in its simplicity. I particularly appreciate how seasonal ingredients are used to the fullest. Glad you dropped by.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashwini,

Another great recipe! One question....can I substitute apple sauce with something else or omit it completely?

Thanks for sharing.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Anon, applesauce itself is a substitute for butter in this recipe. You can substitute it with vegetable oil or butter (I wouldnt use 1 cup then). Or you can use other fruit purees. Hope this helps.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashwini,

Thanks for sharing the lovely recipe. Can apple puree be substituted for applesauce?


9:34 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Ranjani, apple puree is perfectly fine. The idea is to get the same moist cake without all the butter, so an apple puree is a good substitute. Its not overwhelming like say banana. Let me know how you like the cake, am always interested in variations.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I surfing the net for date cake and found your recipe. Tried it just now came out really good. Instead of all purpose floor i used 1 1/2 cups of wheat flour+ 1/2 cups flax seed flour. and replaced egg and used your method. but i think that will be too much baking soda. for whole recipe 2 tbsp baking soda is more than enough. over all recipe is really helpful. keep up the good work. thanks

2:34 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Anon, glad you liked the cake. Flax seed flour sounds like a great idea.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks yuummmmy. Dates cake would be ideal to make my kids eat lots of iron -rich dates. Also chk this different version of Dates, nuts and apple cakes:

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ashwini,
Just baked the date cake.It was delicious! I used three tablespoons of butter and 1&1/2 cups of applesauce, one egg & half a banana.Am thinking of trying it out next time with two tablespoons of butter & two cups of applesauce, 1/2 cup sugar & one ripe banana....

1:31 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Hi Anon, glad the cake turned out great. Like I said its an extremely flexible recipe and I am sure you will get equally great results with less butter next time. Keep me posted! Good luck.

9:09 AM  

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