Last updated on March 25th, 2020 at 03:57 pm
Let’s take an old favourite, the sticky date pudding, and turn it on its ear with a deliciously modern spin. This easy date cake combines those familiar pudding flavours and pairs them with a wicked salted caramel frosting. Balancing sweet dates with the salty caramel, this vegan sticky date cake is like a big kiss in the taste buds. Let the love begin.
Everyone should have an easy date pudding or cake recipe in their back pocket. It is the perfect dinner party dessert without all the fuss and fanfare and it’s quick enough to throw together for a mid-week treat.
I know sticky date pudding has been around for ages and your Nan probably made it for you but I feel it in my waters…the date pudding is making a comeback.
In the last weeks I posted my BBQ Black Bean Burger recipe and my Peanut Butter Overnight Oats with Sticky Granola so it seems I’m in a kind of cuddly nesting mood. This date cake is totally on theme. It’s:
- completely comforting
- easy to whip up for yourself or friends
- ready in the time it takes to shower, wash your hair and throw on your sweat pants (OK, maybe a long shower)
- perfect for any occasion
- so moist, light and wonderful and
There is a reason the date pudding is still a favourite – those flavours are just so good.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s do this.
How to make this simple sticky date pudding
This is one of those recipes that is pretty much foolproof. If, like me, baking is not your second language, you can still master this cake. It’s going to be moist and wonderful and that’s because of the dates.
First, pit the dates and then pop them in a bowl of boiling water with a teaspoon of baking soda. Why? Well, I asked this myself and after some research found little to answer the question. However, the best answer seems to be that the dates are astringent and the baking soda neutralises them. Soaking them in baking soda also appears to enhance the flavour of the dates. Who knows but my Nan did it and I never liked to argue with my Nan.
Next, you pulse the dates and the water in to a loose sludge (sounds awesome, yes?) and stir in the oil, dairy-free milk, sugar and vanilla. Next add the wet ingredients to the dry – unbleached flour, a pinch of salt and baking powder – whisk to combine and pop the batter in to a lined cake pan. Bake low and slow for around 40 to 50 minutes and bingo. You’re done.
The first few times I made this sticky date cake, I simply dusted it with powdered sugar and it was delicious. To vamp it up a little I have included the recipe for a salted caramel sauce to put in your salted caramel frosting (also in the recipe). I like simple but sometimes I need a little bling – my tahini caramel black bean brownies love their tahini caramel swirl and my oatmeal date and pecan cookies are naked without a dip of chocolate.
Simple and sweet or topped with a decadent frosting this sticky date cake is wonderfully moist, easy to make and keeps well. I think my Nan would approve.
Can I make this cake gluten-free?
Yes, you can. You could use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour or create your own gluten-free flour mix. My favourite gluten-free mix is over at my Coconut Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes with Banana recipe.
Can I make this cake ahead and freeze it?
Indeed! You can make the cake, freeze it and decorate it when you are ready to thaw and use it. Don’t freeze the cake decorated.
How do I freeze a cake?
Step 1: Bake and completely cool the cake as per the recipe below.
Step 2: Once the cake cools completely, wrap it in cling wrap or Glad Press and Seal (available at Costco in Australia) making sure the cake is completely sealed from the freezer environment.
Step 3: Take a large piece of foil – around 2 and a 1/2 times the diameter length of the cake – sit the cake in the middle of the foil and fold the sides in to the middle. Fold the top and bottom ends of the foil in towards the cake to seal. Using a Sharpie write the type of cake and the date baked on the foil. Pop it in the freezer in a freezer-proof container or use two sheets of foil to protect it ensuring you have written on the outside layer.
Step 4: Freeze for up to 3 months.
Step 5: To thaw, remove the cake from the freezer the night before you intend to use it leaving the cake fully wrapped on the counter while it thaws.
Sticky Date Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting
FOR THE CAKE
- 250 grams dates weighed before pitting | 12- 13 dates
- 1 cup / 250ml boiling water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour organic or unbleached if you can
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch fine sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup / 75g raw sugar
- 1/3 cup / 80ml olive oil
- 3/4 cup / 180ml soy milk or almond milk
FOR THE SAUCE
- 400 ml full-fat coconut milk
- 3/4 cup rapadura sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp vegan buttery spread
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
FOR THE FROSTING
- 3 cups confectioners sugar icing sugar
- 4 tbsp vegan butter spread soften
- 2 tbsp dairy-free milk
- 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce
- 1/3 cup flaked almonds optional
FOR THE STICKY DATE CAKE
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 356°F or 160°C (fan) / 320°F(fan)
- Line a 22cm (9inch) round cake pan with baking paper.
- Remove the pits from the dates and pop them in a heatproof bowl with the boiling water and baking soda and stand for 5 minutes.
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl
- After 5 minutes, pulse the dates a few times (6 or 7 quick pulses) with an emersion blender - if you don't have one, you can do this part in a regular blender. Add the vanilla, sugar, oil and milk and stir to combine (the oil won't completely combine - no matter).
- Stir the wet ingredients in to the flour until just combined.
- Pour the cake batter in to the prepared cake pan and pop in the pre-heated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the oven clean. At around the 30-minute mark when the top of the cake is set, I gently cover the top of the cake with foil to slow the browing process.
FOR THE SAUCE
- While the cake is baking, place the coconut milk and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place it over medium heat on the stove. Stir the mixture and bring it up to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- When the sauce has thickened and is a lovely amber colour, stir in the vegan butter, the vanilla and sea salt. Remove from the heat to cool.
FOR THE FROSTING
- To make the frosting add the confectioners sugar, softened butter and milk in a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixture, whip to combine. When the frosting is thick and fluffy, add a 1/2 cup of the cooled salted caramel and whip again to combine.
- Add more confectioner's sugar if needed to make a thick frosting
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
- This cake is wonderful with a dusting of icing sugar BUT if we are going all out...
- Remove the cake from the oven and sit it for 10 minutes before removing it from the cake pan. Allow it to cool completely.
- When cool, slather the top with the salted caramel frosting and a sprinkling of flaked almonds. For added flair, you can swirl the remaining caramel sauce over the cake when serving.