Date Cake

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DateCakeOne of my mom’s favorites was date cake, which I always avoided.  Growing up, dates seemed nasty–like in the same category as raisins (just giant ones at that).  But man, was I missing out.  I didn’t make this recipe until I was married to my husband who is originally from Pakistan and LOVES dates!  Seriously, he can’t get enough of them.  So this has become one of the frequently requested recipes from all of our Muslim friends, especially at Ramadan, which we are celebrating right now.  While it’s definitely in keeping with Southeast Asian cuisine, it’s 100% Midwestern!

At Ramadan we order dates from one of the date farms in Bard County California–THE date capital of the US and they melt in your mouth.  But for this recipe, I typically get the dates from the store, which aren’t as good, but work great in this recipe since you reconstitute the dates in boiling water (and sugar), so I save the good ones for eating plain.  I make mine gluten and dairy free, but it’s fabulous either way!  And it’s great with whipped cream or ice cream of your choice on top!  Enjoy!

Date Cake


  • 2 1/2 cups Chopped Dates (pitted)
  • 2 1/4 cups Boiling Water (divided)
  • 1/4 cup Butter of choice (to make this dairy free, I use Earth's Balance)
  • 1 Egg (beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Sugar (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cup Flour of choice (to make this gluten free, I use Cup4Cup gluten free flour)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt


Step 1
In a large mixing bowl, pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over 1 1/2 cups chopped dates.
Step 2
Add 1/4 cup butter and stir together until the butter has melted. Then add the vanilla, baking soda and beaten egg. If you add the egg right away, you might get scrambled eggs!
Step 3
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (1 cup sugar, flour and baking powder).
Step 4
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
Step 5
Pour batter into a greased 8x11 glass pan (I've used a 9x13 metal pan as well) and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown.
Step 6
For the topping, combine the remaining 1 cup dates, 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup boiling water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Step 7
Once the cake is out of the oven and has cooled off some, spread the topping over the cake. Finish off with whipped cream or ice cream of your choice and enjoy!

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