date cake

Tara’s Date Cake

Tara’s Date Cake

Looks can be deceiving. This is not a very pretty cake. But it is one of my all time favorites. I love dates and their natural sweetness adds a unique flavor. This cake also has a soft delicate texture, that you might not expect. I have been sharing it with various friends for feedback. So far we all agree it is a winner.

I shared some of this cake with my friend, Tara, the other day. She really loved it. We also talked about how recipe names come about. So I thought, what the heck, I will name the cake after her. Did I mention how much she liked it?

This all started because I had a request to bake a date cake. I hadn’t made one in a long time and forgot how much I like them. Unlike a date nut bread, which can be dense and more like a fruitcake, this cake is rich, but light.

The cake comes out very dark brown, but it isn’t burnt- unless you leave it under the broiler too long. Don’t ask me how I know this. The dark color just means the cake has a toasty flavor, especially around the edges.

Yes, the cake goes under the broiler for a few minutes after baking it. It gives the topping a sort of caramel flavor.

So enough chat- here is the recipe.

Tara’s Date Cake

1½ c. water

1½ c. raisins or dried cherries

¾ c. dates, pitted and chopped

½ c. butter

¾ c. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla extract

1½ c. all-purpose flour

½ t. salt

1 t. baking soda


4 T butter (½ a stick)

½ c brown sugar

2 T. half and half or cream

½ cup chopped dates

½ c. chopped nuts, optional

Grease and flour a 9- inch square pan. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine water and raisins. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chopped dates. Set aside to cool, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, then beat in the vanilla. Beat in the flour and salt. Combine the baking soda and date mixture. Stir well, then add date mixture to batter. Beat just until combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven, and set oven to broil. Make Topping: In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, half and half or cream, chopped dates and nuts, if using. Spread mixture over warm cake and place under broiler until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Watch carefully – it burns easily under the broiler. Cool before serving. Serves 12.

Moroccan Date Cake

Moroccan Date Cake

Moroccan Date Cake

I have liked dates for as long as I can remember. They are truly nature’s candy. In this simple cake recipe I used both dates and nuts to add richness.  The hardest part of this dish was cutting up the fresh dates. They are pretty sticky. I used kitchen scissors, dipped in oil, to snip up the dates and that worked pretty well. I suppose you could add frosting or a glaze but I prefer this cake unadorned.

Moroccan Date Cake

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

4 eggs

1 t. baking powder

1 c. flour

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

1/2 t. ground cloves

1/2 c. milk

1 t. vanilla

1 c. pitted, chopped dates

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Cream together butter and sugar and beat in the eggs. Combine dry ingredients and beat into the egg mixture. Beat in milk and vanilla. Stir in nuts and dates and pour batter into a greased 9-inch cake pan. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 8-10.

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