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This Sticky Date Cake is gluten-free and made with toffee-like medjool dates which boast incredible flavour. It’s adorned with a simple buttercream, deepened with the molasses flavour of black treacle. The ultimate tea-time treat.
The most well known use of dates in baking is in Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s the dates which create the sticky toffeeness of the pudding as they are baked into the sponge.
The dates do the same here in this much simpler Sticky Date Cake. But in this cake instead of hiding the great work of the dates we are celebrating them. There are no flavour-masking spices used here just really good medjool dates, black tea, dark brown sugar and teff flour which give this cake a delicious fudgy intensity.
Why this Date Cake is so brilliant
- Medjool dates are used for their toffee like taste and moist texture.
- The dates are infused with freshly brewed tea which really enhances the flavour.
- Teff flour is used for its molasses taste – a beautiful background note to the cake.
- The cake is easy to make with minimal ingredients and simple to decorate.
- The Black Treacle Buttercream pairs beautifully with the dark caramel notes of the cake.
Gluten-Free Date Cake
The two flours needed to make this cake are naturally gluten-free:
- Teff flour – this is the perfect choice for Date Cake as its wonderfully malty molasses taste pairs beautifully with the deep rich flavours of the dates, tea and brown sugar.
- Almond flour – this is a great all-purpose gluten-free flour. This protein rich flour helps the cake to bind together in lieu of gluten. It also helps create a fluffy sponge with beautiful texture. For more info on the benefits of nut flours visit this post here.
How to make Sticky Date Cake
- Soak chopped dates in freshly brewed tea with some bicarbonate of soda for 10 minutes.
- Beat dark soft brown sugar with unsalted butter.
- Add an egg and the dates with all their liquid.
- Sift together teff flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt and then mix into the rest of the batter.
- Pour into a baking tin and bake for 50 minutes.
Can I use regular dates instead of medjool?
Medjool dates are incredibly sticky and give this cake so much moisture. These are really the only dates I would use for this particular cake.
Looking for more date recipes?
How to make Black Treacle Buttercream
This Black Treacle Buttercream is incredible and very easy.
- Cream unsalted butter and icing sugar for 6-8 minutes until very light and creamy.
- Add 1 tablespoon black treacle and a pinch of salt and beat in until fully incorporated.
When you are measuring out your black treacle, dip your tablespoon into flavourless oil before scooping out the treacle. The treacle will slip out of the tablespoon and becomes a much less messy affair.
Can I substitute molasses for black treacle?
The icing will still work but black treacle has a distinctive bittersweet intensity to its flavour. This is the taste you want to capture in the buttercream. So you can substitute molasses in but the end result won’t be the same.
How long does Sticky Date Cake last?
Cut the cake as and when you require slices which will prevent the cake from drying out. It will keep well in an airtight tin for up to 3 days.
Can you freeze Sticky Date Cake?
Yes, this cake freezes very well. It’s always my preference to freeze cake un-iced and wrapped up well. However, if you have already iced the cake and have some spare slices you don’t want to eat right away then it’s possible to freeze completed.
To defrost a frozen cake, remove from the freezer the night before you wish to eat it, still wrapped up. The next day unwrap the cake and leave out for 30 minutes before serving.
Baker’s Tips for making Sticky Date Cake
- Don’t brew the tea for longer than 3-5 minutes or the tea will taste ‘stewed’
- Dice the medjool dates up into small pieces for even distribution throughout the cake.
- The butter should be room temperature before creaming with the sugar to achieve a light and fluffy sponge.
- Sift the flours well with the baking powder and salt so they are mixed evenly throughout the cake.
- Check the cake is baked by inserting a cocktail stick or skewer into the middle of the cake. It should come out dry with no sticky crumbs (unless you’ve caught a date).
For more tips on baking delicious cakes visit my Top 25 Tips for Baking Perfect Cakes.
Or if you want to explore how to bake amazing gluten-free cakes that are not dry or crumbly then see my Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Cakes.
- Add chopped walnuts for a bit of nutty texture.
- Add a pinch of cinnamon or ginger to the cake batter for a touch of spice.
- Bake in some dark chocolate chips which will give even more ooey gooeyness and a great chocolate kick.
If you make this Sticky Date Cake then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.
Sticky Date Cake with Black Treacle Icing
- 275 ml just boiled water
- 1 black teabag
- 200 g medjool dates - stoned and diced
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 180 g dark soft brown sugar
- 75 g unsalted butter - room temperature
- 1 egg
- 140 g teff flour
- 140 g almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
Black Treacle Buttercream
- 200 g unsalted butter
- 180 g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon black treacle
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan assisted/ gas mark 4 and line and grease an 8 inch square baking tin.
- Place the teabag into a large bowl and pour in the just boiled water. Brew for 3 minutes.
- Remove the teabag and pour in the diced dates. Set aside for 10 minutes while you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Beat the sugar and butter together until the sugar has turned creamy.
- Pour in the egg and dates and mix until completely combined.
- Whisk the flours together with the baking powder and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the rest of the ingredients and mix together well.
- Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 50 minutes.
- Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.
Black Treacle Buttercream
- Beat the butter and icing sugar together for 6-8 minutes until incredibly light and creamy.
- Add in the black treacle and mix in until completely incorporated.
- Spread the buttercream over the top of the cooled cake and cut into 9 squares.
- Medjool Dates are a must for this cake and can’t really be substituted for regular dates. Dice the dates up small for even distribution throughout the cake.
- Tea – use a good quality black teabag. Don’t brew for longer than 3-5 minutes or the tea will taste ‘stewed.’
- Butter – use unsalted and make sure it’s room temperature before creaming with the sugar.
- Teff Flour and Almond Flour – sift well with the salt and baking powder so they mix evenly throughout the cake.
- Check the cake is baked by inserting a cocktail stick or skewer into the middle of the cake. It should come out dry with no sticky crumbs.
- Store – keep the cake in a cool airtight tin for up to 3 days.
- Freezing – this cake freezes well, iced or un-iced.