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Friday, March 25, 2016

Walnut Date Cake

This cake has so much going for it...the natural sweetness from the dates contributes nutrients, flavor, and an undeniable SOFT texture. It's so fragrant and the color is a deeply rich brown that promises intense satisfaction from your first glance. The nutty crunch of the walnuts pairs perfectly with the stickiness of the dates. The coffee may come as a surprise to you in the list of ingredients, but you won't taste it...what you will taste is strong flavors from the other ingredients, and  you can thank the coffee for that! The brown sugar adds a hint of molasses and density, and the white sugar contributes to the cake-y texture.

In short, this cake is perfection. Should I keep going or are you ready to just make it?

Serves 16

-17 ounces pitted pureed dates  (about 2 cups packed pitted whole dates, see ** at the below instructions to read how to make this cake with whole dates instead of pureed dates)
-1 1/2 cups hot coffee (either brew fresh coffee or mix instant coffee with hot water)
-1 tablespoon vanilla flavor
-1 teaspoon baking soda

-3 eggs
-1/2 cup white granulated sugar
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1 tablespoon vanilla flavor
-1/3 cup melted coconut oil

-2 cups flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon ground cardamom (use half this amount or omit completely if not a fan of cardamom)
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
-1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Optional garnish: powdered sugar, whole walnuts

To make
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a bundt pan or 13x9 inch pan.
-In a medium bowl, place the date paste and pour the hot coffee, vanilla and baking soda over the paste. Break up the date paste into chunks and come back and stir the mixture every minute or so. As the date paste sits in the hot coffee it will soften and eventually you will be able to stir the mixture until the date paste is smooth and the coffee has completely mixed into the dates.
-In a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine 3 eggs, white and brown sugars, and vanilla flavor then cream using an electric beater. I leave my mixer running while the date paste softens.
-In another medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, ground cardamom and ground nutmeg).
-Once the date paste has softened completely, add the MELTED coconut oil and the dissolved date mixture. Keep mixing until the batter is well combined. You will notice a color difference when it is well mixed because the egg/sugar batter is pale and the date/coffee mixture is very dark.
-Turn your mixer setting to the lowest speed and slowly add the dry ingredients. When it is almost completely blended (you can still see lumps of flour) add the chopped walnuts (plus optional chocolate chips) and continue mixing. Try NOT to over mix your batter so the cake doesn't dry out.
-Pour the batter into the greased bundt pan and bake for 45-55 minutes (mine takes exactly 50 minutes). I bake my cake on the 2nd lowest rack in the oven, between the lowest rack and the middle portion. Your cake is finished when  a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs attached.
-Cool your cake then flip on a serving platter and garnish with optional powdered sugar and whole walnuts. Store leftovers covered tightly at room temperature.

**If you are using whole dates instead of date paste simply pit the seeds of the dates and place in a food processor with the hot coffee, vanilla flavor and baking soda. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes to soften the dates then puree them to a fine paste consistency. Proceed with the recipe.

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Try these other great treats!
Classic Banana Bread (most viewed banana bread recipe!)

Chocolate Fig Truffles

1 comment:

  1. We are HUGE fans of dates and I've made the chocolate date bars and date tart recipes from this site too many times to count. As soon as I saw this new recipe I knew it would be good, and I was right! My date paste was 13 ounces so I used 1/2 cup extra whole pitted dates to compensate for the extra 4 ounces. I chopped them finely but they did not completely dissolve, which gave a nice texture to the cake. I served this to my book club and by the time the night was over all the ladies were looking this recipe up on their phones.