Moist, tender, and bursting with sweet but subtle caramel flavors, this date cake is the ultimate coffee pairing!
It’s chewy, nutty, and to die for.
Dates are well-known as nature’s sweeteners.
They’re often used to make vegan caramel, and when boiled and pureed, they bring so much deliciousness (and moisture!) to cakes and other desserts.
And this date cake is no exception!
If you’ve ever had sticky toffee pudding, this will taste familiar. Only it’s got way more texture, thanks to the raisins and walnuts.
This date cake is a breeze to make. So what are you waiting for?
Sticky Date Cake Recipe
If you have a book club, family gathering, or PTA meeting coming up, I urge you to make this simple date cake.
It’s just the right amount of sweet to keep you coming back for more, but it’s not overwhelming. That said, the caramel notes are super addictive.
It’s also ridiculously moist!
Aside from the flavor, the soaked fruits make the cake incredibly tender and almost sticky.
Have a slice for breakfast, devour a wedge for dessert, or indulge as a midnight snack.
No matter what, it’s a must-make.
For the Cake:
- Dates and Raisins – You’ll soak them in boiling water and baking soda to bring out their sweet, caramelized flavor. This also softens them, which is why the cake is so moist.
- Baking Soda – A bit of baking soda in the dates and raisins will quickly neutralize their acidity.
- Granulated Sugar – For sweetness.
- Butter – To enrich the cake. Feel free to use salted butter, and cut out the extra salt listed below.
- Eggs – To bind the cake ingredients and help it rise.
- Vanilla Extract – To enhance the cake’s flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour – The base of the cake that provides its structure.
- Salt – To balance out the sweetness.
For the Topping:
- Butter – For a richer flavor.
- Brown Sugar – To enhance the caramelized goodness.
- Heavy Cream – To make it nice and sticky but thin enough to soak into the cake for maximum flavor.
- Walnuts – For a lovely crunchy finish
How to Make Date Cake
This recipe is super simple to make. And while I use a 9-inch baking pan, you can try it in muffin cups, as a loaf, or a bundt if you like!
1. Preheat the oven and prepare the baking pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease the baking pan with butter, oil, or cooking spray.
Line the pan with parchment or dust it with flour. The extra flour ensures you have an easy release without parchment paper.
2. Soften the dates and raisins.
Add the raisins to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cover them with water.
You want no more than 1 1/2 cups water since you’ll add everything to the batter. Too much water in the fruit and you’re cake won’t come out.
Bring the water to a boil, and leave the raisins to cook for at least five minutes. Then, add the chopped dates and baking soda.
Leave the fruit to soak while you get everything else ready.
3. Prepare the cake batter.
Beat together the sugar and butter until they’re light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Mix in the vanilla with the final egg.
4. Add the dry ingredients and date mixture.
Add the flour and salt to the creamed sugar and butter. Stir this until it’s about halfway combined – you should still see quite a few streaks of flour.
Add the raisin-date mixture and gently mix with a rubber spatula just until you no longer see flour.
5. Bake the cake.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Take the cake out of the oven and change the setting to broil.
6. Make the topping.
While the cake bakes, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Don’t let it boil – just melt until there are no more lumps.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, chopped walnuts, and cream. Mix until the sugar is dissolved.
7. Broil the cake.
Spread the mixture on top of the cake, then place the pan back in the oven and broil for 1-3 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.
You may need to rotate the cake halfway through to ensure the topping browns evenly.
8. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
I like this warm, right out of the oven. But it’s just as good at room temperature.
Tips and Tricks
- It’s better to chop the dates yourself than to purchase them pre-chopped. Those tend to be hard and dry.
- If all you can find are pre-chopped dates, cook them with the raisins to soften them.
- When chopping the dates, coat your knife with a bit of cooking oil. This will keep them from sticking.
- If you can’t find dates, dried plums and prunes are adequate substitutes. However, your cake won’t have that deep caramel flavor that only dates can provide.
- Enhance the flavor of the dates and raisins by cooking them in orange juice (or a mix of orange and water if it’s concentrated). You’ll need a taller pot for this, as the liquid will froth up when you add the baking soda.
- Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature – but especially the cream. You’ll add the cream to hot butter, and if it’s cold, it will start to solidify the butter before the sugar can dissolve.
- Keep a close eye on the cake as it broils. Depending on your broiler’s power, the topping may start to burn in as fast as 1 minute.
- Don’t use less sugar and add more dates thinking it’ll balance out the sweetness of the cake. You’ll throw off the ratios, and the cake will likely come out super dense or even dry.
- Want to make date muffins or loaf cake? Use the same recipe for the batter and topping. Just bake it differently:
- For muffins – bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
- For a loaf cake – bake for 45 to 60 minutes.
- Flavor the cake with almond extract instead of vanilla.
- Mix chopped nuts into the batter itself instead of just the topping.
- Cinnamon pairs beautifully with dates and raisins and will work in the batter and the topping.
- Bring out the caramel flavor even more with a splash of bourbon in the topping.
- Try a classic coffee cake crumb instead of the caramel glaze.
How to Store Date Cake
I highly doubt there’ll be any leftovers, but here’s how to store them, just in case:
Tightly wrap the remaining cake with plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container.
Store it at room temperature for up to 3 days.
If you want to keep it around longer, store it in the fridge, where it’ll keep well for up to 5 days.
More Cake Recipes You’ll Love
Starbucks Coffee Cake
Bisquick Coffee Cake
Snickerdoodle Coffee Cake
Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Krusteaz Coffee Cake
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?