Date Honey Nut Cake

A few weeks ago, when I received a batch of organic dates from a kibbutz in Israel, I found myself wondering what to do with them. These sweet, luscious dates on the vine were perfect for snacking, but how else could I get creative with them? Date nut cake was an obvious choice, but I wanted to do something a little different. With Rosh Hashanah coming up, my mind wandered to honey cake. The thought of sweetening date nut cake with honey seemed like it would be totally delish.

Voila! The Date Honey Nut Cake was born. This tasty loaf cake is a unique take on a traditional Rosh Hashanah honey cake. Dates are actually a symbolic food for Rosh Hashanah, so it’s a great choice for the holiday. In Hebrew, a date is called a “tamar,” which is related to the word “tam” (meaning “to end”) and the word “sheyitamu” (meaning “to be consumed”). Dates are eaten in the hopes that our enemies will be consumed. They also happen to be naturally sweet, which is another good reason to eat them for Rosh Hashanah (as we hope for a sweet new year). And here’s another fun fact– biblical scholars believe that the honey repeatedly mentioned in the Torah likely came from dates (and other fruits), not bees. Yet another good reason to eat dates for Rosh Hashanah!

So, what better way to enjoy dates than in a sweet, delicious honey cake? The dates provide lots of moisture, which makes this a convenient make-ahead dessert—the cake will not dry out if you make it a day or two before the holiday begins. The walnuts add some nice texture and crunch. It’s naturally dairy free, but can be topped with cream cheese frosting for some extra decadence (if you’re not worried about keeping it pareve).

I hope this cake ends up on your holiday table. It will definitely be on mine. Yummy!

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Date Honey Nut Cake


  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) whole dates
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Nonstick cooking spray

You will also need

  • 8- or 9-inch loaf pan, 2 mixing bowls
Servings: Makes one 8- or 9-inch loaf cake
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place dates into a bowl and cover them with very hot water. Let the dates soak while you prepare the cake batter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, brown sugar, honey, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir till a thick batter forms.
  • Drain water from the dates. Pit the dates, then chop the fruit into small chunks.
  • Fold the walnuts and date chunks into the batter.
  • Generously grease your loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  • Place loaf pan in preheated oven. Bake cake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool.

Comments (91)Post a Comment

  1. This date cake is definitely going on my Rosh Hashanah menu! When we were in Israel we ate a lot of date honey and brought some home with us. Divine! I need to find a source closer to home…

    Wishing you a sweet and healthy New Year!

  2. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I have a tendency to shy away from regular fruit cake-too many add ins. I am picky when it comes to dried fruit, but the singular addition of dried dates is perfectly acceptable! This may become the new fruit cake for the family-thanks for sharing. It does look tasty.

  3. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Tori this is fantastic. I love dates, I love honey and I love cake. So is perfect. Kudos on being creative. Love this one. I found the fact about the honey being thought to come from dates not bees really interesting. You’ve got a real winner here.

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi there! Just wanted to let you know that I tried out this recipe and really loved it! Not too sweet, great flavors…thanks for sharing the recipe! 😀

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. We were in Israel about a year ago at this time and brought back some date ‘honey’ with us. Our guide had told us the same thing about Biblical references to honey as you mentioned in your post. Anyway, I have been looking for a recipe for making date nut cake ever since I returned from my Israel trip, but couldn’t find anything that sounded good…until now! Perfect!

  6. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    OMG, Tori! The moistness of this cake just jumps right out of the picture. I can’t wait to make it for Rosh Hashana. I will be making the Vanilla Pudding Kugel, too I want to make really sure that this New Year is nice and sweet! Thanks for the great recipes! My best to you and your family.

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this honey cake and one from Epicurious (with a chocolate glaze and sea salt flakes). They were both delicious, but this one was the best and disappeared first.

  8. I made this cake for dessert last night and it was the most popular dessert on the table. Rave reviews from everyone! Fortunately, I doubled the recipe, so we have another for Shabbat dessert. :)

  9. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Confession:I made two of these in 48 hours. First one was for Rosh Hashanah dinner and there were ZERO left overs so the following day I made another-So delicious, so easy!

  10. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Yesterday I needed a dairy free cake – a friend was shocked that I had not heard of your site as a foody – iPad in bed I went on it – wow got up and out of bed into the kitchen – if I have dates and nuts here goes …. Honey and date loaf. – well I did – easy to make and delicious to eat ..I am hooked

  11. hi,your site is adorable,i love it,sidebar about nuts that might interest you,lottsa things we do on rosh hashana are smbolic like the simanim on rosh hashana eve,its brought down in the code of jewish law a interesting custom (amongst orthodox and especially chasidim)not to eat walnuts(many dont eat any nuts)because its numerical value in the hebrew alphabet equals that of sin.hebrew egoz equals chet

  12. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I have tried a few of your recipes, & they are all amazing, except for one, it was a blueberry cake, but it was from a book that was on your site, not your recipe, so unless it’s your recipe I will never use it! I’m still looking for a recipe for a poundcake my grandmother used to make, I’m hoping one day you will make a cake like hers! Keep up all the great cooking & baking!!! Thanks

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence Stacy! Do you have any details on the poundcake? Was it a simple buttery poundcake, or was it flavored?

  13. Hi,,,this recipe looks fabulous,,,,any idea if you can replace the cake flour with something Paleo friendly?

    1. Hi Elaine, I don’t generally freeze cakes, but I assume this cake will freeze fine. I can’t make any promises because I haven’t tried it myself. If you try it please let us know how it works for you!

    1. Hi Sarah– I have never subbed applesauce in this cake, so I hesitate to say yes or no. I can tell you that generally speaking, when I sub applesauce in a baked recipe, I replace no more than half of the oil. Subbing all the oil, in my experience, can result in texture changes in the finished product. If you try it, please let me know how it works for you– I’m sure others might have the same question. :)

  14. I came across this site googling something completely unrelated and have been caught here for an hour now! I am not Jewish nor is anyone in my family, but my father is Egyptian and I grew up with a lot of Israeli friends. Cooking has always been something to overcome boundaries and connect all of them, my friends and family. And it shows how similar we all are; dates for instance are one of my dad’s fondest childhood memories. Raising a family of 11 (!), my grandparents must have been so thankful for these sweet little things. Dates, available everywhere and for everyone, basically made up for any snack the children had! Will definitely try this cake sometime!

  15. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tory, the texture of the cake looks yummy, feel like making it right away, just one quick question, can I use flour I.e., maida for making this cake instead of the cake flour.

    1. I’ve never baked with maida, but regular flour will work fine… the cake flour makes a more tender crumb, but it will still be great with regular all-purpose flour. Enjoy!

  16. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Do you know if I used Virgin Coconut Oil for the oil, would it be the same amount? I made this using canola and it was great! I like the idea of coconut oil since it is a “healthier” fat so-to-speak but I don’t want to over do it. Thanks! Shanah Tova!

    1. Hi Amanda, not sure– I’ve never tried it with Coconut Oil, but it would probably work with the same amount (if you use it in melted form, of course). It may give the cake a slight coconut flavor, though. If you try it let us know how it worked for you! :)

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