This easy-to-make date cake with walnuts is topped with a delicious homemade caramel sauce. It's a perfect snack or a sweet treat to have with your coffee or tea. Even as someone who is not particularly fond of dates, I couldn't resist this cake!
If you love sticky toffee pudding, you absolutely want to make this recipe. The combination of soft Medjool dates and using oil instead of butter gives you a moist, sweet cake that is perfect for fall.
Flour - ordinary wheat flour is fine for baking this cake. This contains less gluten than patent flour, for example, which makes your cake less likely to be tough. You can replace the flour with self-rising flour. However, if you do, skip adding baking powder to the recipe. By the way, did you know that oat flour is also delicious for baking a cake and that making your own oat flour is very easy?
Dates - for this cake, it is important to use soft dates. I prefer to use Medjoul dates. These are nice and big and easy to cut into pieces.
Nuts - walnuts and dates are an amazing combination. I always add some chopped walnuts to the cake batter. Other nuts like hazelnuts or pecans are also delicious!
Oil - like carrot cake, you don't make this date cake with butter but with sunflower oil instead. This gives you a wonderfully soft, moist cake. Just make sure you use an oil with a mild flavor. You do need a little butter for the caramel topping, but you could replace it with margarine if you want to bake a vegan date cake.
My tips for the best results
This is one of the easiest cake recipes on my website. However, there are a few things you should pay attention to when baking a date cake. It is very important not to mix the batter too long. You want your cake to stay nice and fluffy, and mixing causes too much gluten to form, making your cake dry and tough.
It is also helpful if all the ingredients are at room temperature. If everything is the same temperature, you can mix them through the soft butter much easier!!! It is also important to add one egg at a time, so make sure the first egg is completely incorporated before adding the next.
Date cake with caramel
I love to use homemade caramel sauce for the topping. You only need granulated sugar, butter, and heavy cream to make the caramel, but I often add fall flavors like cinnamon or nutmeg. If you're uncomfortable working with hot sugar, you can also use ready-made caramel sauce or your favorite cookie spread.
Another great option is to replace the caramel topping with chocolate ganache or cinnamon whipped cream. These options make the cake slightly less sweet.
Date cake variations
- I love this cake as is, but if you love chocolate, I think you should try adding ½ cup of dark chocolate chips to the batter!
- If you're not a fan of caramel, try replacing the topping with cream cheese frosting!
- This date cake is also perfect to use up any left-over apples. Add one or two chopped apples to the batter, or place a layer of apple slices on top of the cake before you put it into the oven.
Fresh date cake will keep for at least four days at room temperature. You can store the caramel sauce in the refrigerator a lot longer. Just keep in mind that the sugar attracts moisture so the topping may soften a bit. You can prevent this by storing it in the refrigerator or spreading it on top later.
More easy cake recipes
For the date cake
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla exctract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup oil
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour + 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup milk + 3 tablespoons
- 10 medjool dates
For the caramel topping
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
How to bake the date cake
- Preheat your oven to 175 C and grease a 20x25 baking pan.
- Place the eggs, sugar, salt, sunflower oil and vanilla sugar in a large batter bowl and mix well until lighter in color and fluffy.
- Pour in the milk and mix well again.
- Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and mix with a whisk until there are no more lumps.
- Spoon the dates and walnuts into the batter and pour into the baking pan.
- Place your date cake in the center of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until done. Because every oven is different, I recommend checking after 25 minutes to see if your cake is done. You can do this by poking a skewer in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean then it is done.
- Remove the date cake from the oven and let it cool completely before serving.
How to make the caramel topping
- Put the sugar in a thick-bottomed saucepan and slowly melt the sugar over low heat. This may take a while, but don't turn up the heat!
- Once the sugar is melted and has a nice honey color, turn down the heat and stir in the cream. CAUTION: The sugar is very hot and adding the cream will create a lot of steam and bubble the sugar up.
- Heat while stirring until any solidified particles are liquid again then turn off the heat.
- Add the butter and salt and keep stirring until the butter has melted and you have a nice smooth caramel sauce.
- Pour the caramel into a heatproof bowl and let it cool completely.
Spread the caramel over the date cake and cut into small cubes.