Dream Date

What dream indeed…wheat free, dairy free, sugar free! Does it actually taste good?! Well, you know it wouldn’t be here if it didn’t. You can have your cake and eat it too.
I dipped into this delight for the first time last weekend at my friend’s place. After a long walk in the wintery frost, we came back inside to enjoy in a hot cup of tea and this totally fantastic date-almond-orange cake. It was love at first bite: rich, moist, spicy oragne-y-ness, and oh so satisfying! “What the heck is in this thing?!” I asked. She said she’d send me the recipe.
I should have guessed: dates. Those sweet little nuggets get me every time – and if you haven’t started baking with dates I suggest you jump on the bandwagon. They not only add a sweetness that rivals processed sugar, but they impart a moistness, and rich flavour that the refined stuff just can’t touch.

Almonds instead of Flour
The almonds in this recipe replace the flour, which is great news for people who are trying to avoid wheat and gluten. You can find almond flour at natural / health food stores, but the almonds used in this recipe are not exactly the same thing. Almond flour or almond meal is very different from whole ground almonds as it’s more like flour. The almonds in this recipe will become chunky, not finely ground. In this form they add a certain heaviness to the cake, and desired richness.

Often called “the king of nuts”, almonds are loaded with many essential nutrients. They are higher in calcium and fiber than any other nut, and are also an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, folic acid, and protein. Choose raw almonds for this recipe, and purchase organically grown ones if possible.

The original recipe called for 6 (!!!) eggs, but if I know anything now, it’s that I can replace eggs with applesauce. I was a tad hesitant to substitute all of them, so I replaced 4 of them and left the other two. It worked out just fine, so I will make the next version completely vegan. Exciting.

Dream Date Almond Orange Cake
Ingredients:
2 ¼ cups soft dates (soaked overnight if necessary)
1 ½ cups raw almonds, plus more for garnish
5 Tbsp. sunflower oil
zest and juice of 1 non-waxed, organic orange
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
generous pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 organic, free-range eggs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 320F or 160C.
2. Flour an 8” bundt, spring form, or round cake pan.
3. Put all ingredients in a food processor, except applesauce and eggs. Blend until rather uniform, with some chunks of nuts remaining.
4. Add applesauce slowly, ¼ cup at a time while blender is running. Then add the two eggs in the same manner, one at a time while blender is running.
5. Pour batter into pan, spread until even. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.
6. Let cake cool completely before removing it from the pan (important!)
7. Chop up some extra almonds and scatter them on top. Serve.

This cake is super-moist and dense – almost like a pudding cake. A small slice goes a long way and makes for a delicious afternoon pick-me-up with tea or even an indulgent breakfast! Remember that the main ingredients are fruit and nuts, so enjoy with delight, it’s a dream come true.

info source: Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness.
New York, NY: Penguin, 2003.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

17 comments

  1. Emma

    Sarah – this cake is heaven! I cannot explain how much my family adores it. I’ve been making it with a labneh icing (I mix some orange rind and juice through it with a little maple syrup and cinnamon) and top that with some of the ginger pepitas you put in your sweet potato and leek soup. Divine!

  2. Ruth

    I just made this cake this morning and removed it from the pan several hours later, completely cooled, as directed. Total disaster. Had to scoop half of it out with a spatula. I used a teflon coated bundt pan and floured it as directed. The recipe should say GREASE and flour, and it should stipulate a SPRING FORM pan. The cake is much too moist to try to “turn out.” Also, it wasn’t done even after cooking almost an hour. It does taste good so I’m now looking for a bread pudding recipe I can convert it to. I also recommend breaking up the almonds with a mallet before adding to the food processor as the machine must really work to chop and mix the ingredients.

  3. Anonymous

    Hi! I just wanted to say that I made this cake for my birthday on Friday, and that it was a huge success! All of my guests asked for the recipe :) Thank you!

  4. Anonymous

    Hi,
    I absolutely love your blog – it’s very inspiring!

    I wonder wheter I could substitute half of the applesauce with boiled and smashed carrots? I think that carrots and oranges would go well together but I’m little concerned if the texture of the cake changes. Maybe I just have to give it a try.. :)

  5. Shannon

    Hi Sarah! I happened upon your blog recently (a FFTY link to your butternut squash/kale post on FB) and I want to tell you I love your blog…. Totally my type of recipes and way of thinking about health. Going to try both the kale and this cake this week! I wish I could visit your restaurants, but I live in CA. Maybe someday….:) Thank you and keep up the good work! Cheers!

  6. SarahIvory

    I have to say, I am a notorious hater of cakes in this house (except carrot and only if it’s exceptional). I made this cake tonight for an event for work and after tasting the batter, I had to try a slice. Not only did I love it but my sugar loving sweetie tried a bite and declared it ridiculously good and horribly cruel of me to make it for my colleagues and not for him!

    To the reader with the question about the blender, I too am without a large food processor big enough for this type of thing. First I tried my regular weakling blender (major fail), then I put small batches of almonds and dates into my mini food processor (you can get these for under $20usd) to grind them up setting each batch aside in a bowl as I went, then I split the dough in half and added half of all the other ingredients into the mini in two batches and finally transferred it all to my standing mixer to add the applesauce and the eggs. I tell you, by the time I had dirtied every electrical appliance I owned I was doubting whether it would be worth the hassle but it came out amazing all the same. The next time I make it, I might try grinding up the almonds separately first and then the dates and then going to the standing mixer on a high setting to combine, we’ll see, regardless of what it looks like the ingredients are so yummy together I could just eat the batter!

  7. Sarah B

    Hi Beth!

    You really do need a food processor for this one – it’s too dry for a blender or immersion blender. Bummer!

    I work at Grønsagen and Morgenstedet in Christiania. Come by for a visit sometime!

    In health,
    Sarah B.

  8. beth

    Yum. I would love to make this cake. Do you think I could combine the batter with an immersion blender? I don’t own a standing blender.

    Also, I’m curious to know which 2 restaurants you work at in Copenhagen. I moved to Copenhagen last May, but only lived there 4 months before my partner’s job relocated us to Stockholm. We visit friends in Copenhagen regularly though, and after reading your blog, I would love to visit one of your restaurants!

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