This melt in the mouth date cake with full of flavours is a perfect teatime treat! You could even pack daintily cut pieces of this cake and store in a plastic box and take it on a picnic.
In my effort to create the family 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!
With all the tips and techniques given nothing can go wrong.
I use Stork spread, specially 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 tub of good quality margarine or spread which gives a lighter and airier texture to the final product. I got this tip from Marry Berry, the most respected cookery writer in the UK, who has never let me down.
You need the following ingredients;
|Good quality wet dates||250 g|
|Margarine or spread||250 g|
|Caster sugar||250 g|
|Self – raising flour (Plain flour could be used if SRF is not available)||250 g|
|Plain tea bags||2|
|Baking powder||1 tsp|
|Bicarbonate of soda||1 tsp|
|Juice of lemon||2 tsp|
Let’s get started:
Prepare the date pulp.
(Traditionally, this is done by soaking the dates overnight with a combination of hot water, plain tea bags and bicarb. I invented a quicker and much easier method to make the same quality date pulp, in just 10-15min by boiling it which made the whole process easy and less cumbersome. (Interestingly, the idea of dropping tea bags into this, is purely to get a nice dark brown colour.)
Gather the following;
- Good quality dates – 250 g
- Plain tea bags – 2
- Bicarb – 1 tsp
- Water to fill up to the level of dates
Let’s make it;
- Wash the dates thoroughly
- Remove the stem parts
- 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 is down to the bottom of the pan and the dates are soft
- Mix 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda into the pot, mix well
- Boil for further 2/3 mins
- Take out from the flame and let the dates cool off completely
- Squeeze the tea bags and remove them
- Your date pulp is ready
Let’s get on with the cake now
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
Oven temp conversion chart at
- 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 watery batter
- Add lemon juice, vanilla and salt
- Next, mix baking powder with flour and sieve it on to the batter
- Gently fold the flour with a wooden spoon until everything comes to a creamy batter
- Line up a baking tray 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
- Place the tray in the middle of the bottom shelf 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 the cake rest for 5 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 tastes best the next day