Date cake
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
A sticky and rich cake that isn't too sweet but very satisfying with a cup of tea or coffee.
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-16
  • 2 cups dates (pitted, cut into smaller pieces if whole to begin with)
  • 1.5-2 cups boiling water (more for dry dates, less for juicy ones)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence (or to taste)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup nuts, roughly chopped (a mixture works well: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, even peanuts)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
  2. Put the dates in a bowl and pour over the water. Stir and let cool.
  3. Add the other ingredients, one by one, stirring thoroughly after each (I used an electric whisk).
  4. Prepare the cake tin: butter or spray with cake release, unless you have a silicon tin. This is one sticky cake!
  5. Pour the batter into a 23cm cake tin. If the batter reaches almost to the top, that's OK because it doesn't rise all that much.
  6. Put it in the oven and leave for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Here, you need to keep your nerve and not open the oven as the scents of caramelising sugar spreads through the kitchen and you start worrying about the cake burning. Open the oven door and the cake collapses. It's still tasty, just much flatter in the middle than at the sides.
  7. When done, take the cake out and let cool before cutting.
  8. Serves 8-16, depending on greed. Freezes well (and defrosts almost instantly because of the sugar content).
Recipe by Edinburgh Foody at