date cake

Classic Date Cake – Super Moist And Flavourful In Every Bite!

Sri Lankan Date Cake

This super-moist date cake, bursting with flavours will simply melt into your mouth.

In my effort to create the family’s favourite classic date cake that my mum used to make, I stumbled upon an ‘aha’ moment to reproduce the same with less time and effort.  In the process,  I observed that dates could be boiled to soften in minutes rather than the traditional way of soaking them overnight.  Hence, the date pulp will be ready in just  a matter of 10 mins and you can proceed to make the cake right away!  Super easy! You can even make it and eat it on the same day ! However, it will taste more flavourful and soft in the next day.

With all the tips and techniques given, nothing can go wrong.  So, try it out today!

I use Stork spread, especially made for cakes for this recipe.  Using butter is not a wise option as the cake can go too lumpy or dense.  For any cake, I recommend a good quality margerine or spread which gives a lighter and more airy texure to the final product.  I got this tip from Marry Berry, the most respected cookery writers in the UK which has never let me down.

You need the following ingredients :

Good quality  dates 250 g
Margerine or spread 250 g
Caster sugar 250 g
Self raising flour (Plain flour could be used if SRF is not available) 250 g
Eggs 4
Plain tea bags 2
Salt 2 pinches
Baking powder 1 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
Juice of lemon 2 tsp
Boiling Water

 Let’s get started:

First step

prepare the date pulp.

You will need :

  • Good quality dates – 250 g
  • Plain tea bags          – 2
  • Bicarb                       – 1 tsp
  • Water to fill upto the level of dates

(Traditionally this is done by soaking the dates overnight with a combination of hot water, plain tea powder and bicarb.  However, my quicker and much easier method to make the same quality date pulp, in just 10-15min by boiling it made the whole process of making this cake super easy. (Interestingly, the idea of dropping tea bags into this, is purely to get a nice dark brown colour.)

  • Remove the stem parts and destone the dates,  place in a deep- bottom pan and fill with water just a little above the level of dates.

  • Drop the tea bags, cover and boil until the water level dips to the bottom of the pan and the dates are soft
  • Switch the flame off
  • Mix 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda into the pot, mix well
  • Cover and let the dates cool off completely
  • Once cooled, squeeze the tea bags and remove them
  •   Your date pulp is ready

Let’s get on with the cake now

  • Pre heat the oven to 180C .

Oven temp conversion chart

Cream it

  • Beat sugar and butter together for about 2 mins or until creamy, using an electric hand mixer
  • Add eggs one at a time,  beat for 15 seconds after each addition
  • Now add the date pulp and beat for 1 min until everything comes into a smooth batter

  • Add lemon juice, vanilla and salt
  • Next,  mix baking powder with flour and sieve it on to the batter
  • Slowly fold the flour with a wooden spoon until everything comes to a creamy batter

Tray it

  • Line up a baking tray 12’ x 10’ (rectangular) with parchment paper and pour the batter in
  • Lift  the tray up and gently drop to the surface to let the air bubbles escape and the batter to spread and settle evenly

Oven it

  • Place the tray in the middle of the oven
  • Bake for  20  – 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when stabbed in the middle of the cake.  If the skewer comes out sticky, leave the cake a few mins more in the oven.


  • Take the cake out of the oven and let it rest for 15 mins
  • Gently,  remove from the tray and let it cool on a wire rack
  • Dip a knife in hot water before slicing the cake to avoid it from crumbling


  • Always opt for the best quality wet dates for a flavourful cake
  • Never open the oven door during the first 10mins of baking
  • This cake taste best on the next day
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