This sticky date cake is a joy to make and even better to eat! The lightly spiced vegan sponge is packed full of juicy, sticky medjool dates along with a sprinkling of pecans. It’s succulent, moist and rich with beautiful caramel flavours throughout.
This cake started its life as the popular Jamaican Ginger Cake from my blog (inspired by the BBC non-vegan version) and after a few tweaks and additions, it transformed into this deliciously tender sticky date cake!
The intention was to continue its transformation into a sticky toffee pudding-style cake but it was so good I stopped where I was and thought – this has to go on the blog as is!
It’s so incredibly easy to make, taking just 15 minutes to get in the oven, where it’s then baked slow and low to lock in all of the gooey caramelly date goodness. This beautifully moist cake goes equally well with a cup of tea or as a dessert with some coconut yoghurt or dairy free custard. Why not try serving it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream?
Why you’ll love this Sticky Date Cake
Easy to make. This is a straightforward cake to make. First, stir together the dry ingredients, then gently warm and add in the wet ingredients. Lastly, stir through some roughly chopped dates and pecans and in the oven it goes. Voila, a beautiful eggless date cake!
Those caramel flavours. Medjool dates have a reputation for their gooey texture, natural sweetness and caramel flavour (a little like brown sugar) and this really comes through in this cake, with little nuggets of sticky, caramelly dates in every bite. Paired with warm spices and treacle, this cake is perfect for the holiday season!
A texture to die for. The soft, succulent and tender texture of this delicious date cake is beautiful, with chewy pieces of pecan scattered throughout!
It lasts well. The cake stores well in an airtight container at room temperature and stays beautifully soft for several days, making it a great one to make in advance.
How to make this Sticky Date Cake
Make sure to head to the recipe card below for the full recipe and instructions!
Step 1. First, gather together your ingredients, de-stone the dates and roughly chop them along with the pecans. Line a loaf tin with non-stick parchment paper and preheat the oven.
Step 2. Next, in a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and spices).
Step 3. Add the wet ingredients (margarine, syrup, treacle and milk) to a small saucepan and warm gently until everything is combined. Add this to the flour mixture and stir together. I find it easiest to do this with a large whisk to make sure everything is combined without beating or over-mixing.
Step 4. Stir through the chopped dates and pecans and then pour the date mixture (which will be quite wet, almost like a batter) into the prepared pan. Bake until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean, which is usually around 50-55 minutes.
Step 5. It’s important to leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out because it has such a tender, moist texture. There is no rush to take it out of the tin, I often leave this one cooling overnight in the tin and then take it out in the morning to slice.
Top tips for making this Sticky Date Cake
Recommended ingredients or equipment: I recommend using a large whisk to stir together the wet cake mixture and getting your hands on some really good quality medjool dates – the really gooey kind! You’ll also need a 9” x 5” loaf tin like this one (23cm x 13cm / 2lb pan size).
Warming the wet ingredients: You will need to warm the margarine, syrup, treacle and milk together in a pan to combine it all. Keep stirring over a gentle heat and everything should combine within a couple of minutes once the margarine has melted and the treacle has thinned.
Variations: I would not recommend any substitutions in this recipe, however I am keen to try it with gluten free flour because I think it may work well. If you try it before me, let me know in the comments! If you fancy some additions you could try stirring crunchy walnuts or chocolate chips into the cake batter or serving the finished cake drizzled in toffee sauce.
Cooling and enjoying: It’s important to let this cake cool before turning it out onto a cooling rack. Once cold, slice using a serrated bread knife. Serve it with a cup of coffee for elevenses or with a scoop of ice cream or a drizzle of vegan heavy cream for dessert.
Storing: This cake stores well in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
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What is date cake made of?
This date cake recipe is made of self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, dried spices, vegan margarine, golden syrup, treacle, dairy-free milk, dates and pecans. There is no need to pre-soak the dates in this recipe.
Are dates good for baking?
Dates are fantastic for baking! They add a natural sweetness as well as little sticky, gooey nuggets throughout the cake. They’ve also got a wonderfully rich, caramel flavour (similar to that of brown sugar) that pairs well with ingredients such as toffee and treacle.
Why is my date cake dry?
A dry date cake is the result of too much flour and not enough moisture. This date cake recipe balances the wet and dry ingredients perfectly to produce a sticky and rich cake. As long as you don’t overbake it, this tender cake should be beautifully moist.
Which dates are best for baking?
Medjool dates are wonderful for baking with due to their ooey, gooey texture. These luscious dates add moisture to a cake as well as sweetness and a caramel flavour. Another alternative is deglet nour dates which have a more intense flavour and are slightly drier (so may need soaking before use).
How do you prepare dates for baking?
Dates are usually prepared for baking by being soaked in boiling water before the soaked dates are then added to the cake batter. In this recipe, because we are using medjool dates which are already very gooey, they tend not to need soaking. We add the chopped dates straight into the cake batter.
If your Medjool dates are a little on the drier side, or you’re using other types of dates, you can soak them in the warm treacle mixture for a few more minutes to rehydrate them.
More delicious vegan recipes to try
Looking for another deliciously sweet and sticky cake recipe? Try the original Jamaican Ginger Cake with Passion Fruit Icing – it’s a community favourite!
For another classic recipe that uses dates, try this Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake; it’s rich, sweet and moist.
Wanting something a little lighter? Try these Healthy Millionaire’s Shortbread; they’re gluten free, no bake and can be eaten straight from the freezer!
Have you tried making vegan caramel sauce before? This Easy Vegan Caramel Sauce recipe uses just 2 ingredients and is incredibly simple – try it drizzled over ice cream or in your favourite dessert.
Did I hear someone say Banoffee Pie Cupcakes with a Caramel Centre?! Yes please! These little gems are very popular and for good reason. They’ve got fluffy banana cupcake sponges filled with caramel sauce and topped with whipped vanilla buttercream, more caramel sauce, grated chocolate and banana chips. Mmm mmm!
I hope you LOVE this Sticky Date Loaf Cake! If you try it be sure to leave a comment and rating below and tag @aveganvisit on social media – I love to see your re-creations! Enjoy 🙂 x
The Sticky Date Cake Recipe:
Sticky Date Cake
- 225 g self raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 115 g dairy free margarine
- 150 g golden syrup
- 75 g treacle
- 250 ml dairy free milk (almond milk works well)
- 150 g medjool dates (pitted and roughly chopped)
- 50 g pecans (roughly chopped)
- Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (180°C conventional / 350°F / gas mark 4).
- Grease a 9” x 5” loaf tin (23cm x 13cm or 900g / 2lb) and line it with non-stick baking paper.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and mixed spice.225 g self raising flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp mixed spice
- In a saucepan heat the margarine, golden syrup, treacle and milk. Warm gently until the margarine has melted and the liquids are combined (around 2-3 minutes) and then add this mixture to the flour mix.115 g dairy free margarine, 150 g golden syrup, 75 g treacle, 250 ml dairy free milk
- Using a large whisk, stir everything together until the mix is smooth and combined (but don’t over-mix or beat the mixture).
- Stir in the chopped dates and pecans.150 g medjool dates, 50 g pecans
- Pour the mixture into the lined loaf pan (it’ll be quite runny) and bake for 50-55 minutes until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out.