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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- 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
- 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.