Wholemeal date cake

date walnut cake

I work with a bunch of dietitians and pharmacists. Plus we have an oven at work perfect for work lunches and morning tea celebrations.

Recently a dietitian and pharmacist paired up and baked the MOST amazing date cake ever. Basically they took a sticky date pudding recipe and tweaked it into a delicious wholemeal date cake. If you like overly sweet, refined everything, this cake is not for you. If you like the taste of wholesome nutrition, that is both flavoursome and  enjoy the taste of healthy deliciousness, then this cake is for you.

My colleagues adapted a sticky-date pudding recipe (available here https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/sticky-date-pudding/45e0c558-fd09-427e-8955-a4289cf8c615) to create this delightful cake.

  • 250g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups Wholemeal Self-Raising Flour, sifted

If this was me making this cake I would do the following substitutions as well:

  • Change the butter to 125mL rice bran or light olive oil 
    • Reason: Reduce saturated fat content to healthier monounsaturated fats. Both butter and oil are fat. They have the same amount of energy per gram (37kJ per gram). However it is the quality of the fat. Saturated fat is naturally sourced from meat, dairy products (including full fat milk, yoghurt and cheese). The aim is not to remove it from the diet completely (unless you have a health condition requiring dietary monitoring with a health care professional), but to lower the amount. Prevention is better than cure.
  • Change the sugar to 1/3 cup pure honey
    • Reason: In terms of energy, sugar and honey have the same energy density per gram (17kJ per gram). However honey is often perceived as being sweeter therefore less is needed overall. While honey may be marketed as being a source of antioxidants or other nutritive compounds, the truth is you would need to EAT a lot in order for honey to have those benefits. For me, it’s about the same sweetness just being able to use less.
  • I would also add 2 tsp of cinnamon.
    • Reason: Cinnamon naturally enhances the flavour “sweet” on our tastebuds – even if added sugar/sweetner is not used. So I can cut back on my added sugar amount but adding a touch of cinnamon will enhance the sweetness I perceive. Cinnamon also helps to modulate (i.e. control) the breakdown of sugar in the body – it slows the process down so you don’t have massive sugar hits.
  • 1: Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 7cm deep, 22cm (base) cake pan.
  • 2: Place dates and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Pour over boiling water. Allow to stand for 20 minutes.
  • 3: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a large metal spoon, fold through date mixture and flour until well combined.
    • If you were using honey and oil instead of sugar and butter, do the same thing. Mix the oil and honey together. Add the vanilla essence and then the individual eggs.
    • In a separate bowl combine the flour, cinnamon powder. Make a well in the centre and add the oil mixture. Mix gently to combine. Add the water and date mixture. Mix gently to combine.
  • 4: Spoon mixture into prepared cake pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn onto a plate.

Enjoy warm. Or cooled. Plain or with a smidge of butter.

While the online recipe also adds a caramel sauce, my colleagues did NOT make this sauce turning a pudding into a DELICIOUS cake! I cant imagine any other way of eating this to be honest – it was that good.

However if you did want to add a frosting, I would combine:

  • 200g reduced fat cream cheese
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon or 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon or 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons of honey.

Mix well to combine and voila: a fresh, citrus cream cheese-frosting is done. Frost once cake is completely cooled.

Hope you enjoy this cake as much as I and my colleagues did.

XX anneline


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