Date-Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

You can make this in a cake pan, in which case it’s a cake, or in a loaf pan, in which case it’s a bread! This might sound funny, but the easiest way to cut up dates is with a lightly oiled pair of kitchen scissors. Wrap up the bread in pretty cellophane, tie it with a bow, and you’ve got a great teacher gift or holiday party take-along. 

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Hands-on time:
30 minutes
   |   
Total time:
1 hour
   |   
Makes
8
Servings

Kitchen Gear

9-inch round cake pan or loaf pan
Measuring cup
Clean kitchen scissors (adult needed)
Large mixing bowl
Measuring spoons
Wooden or metal spoon
Pot holders

Ingredients

1 1⁄2 cups chopped dates (pit whole dates and cut them into pieces)
3⁄4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 cup boiling water (adult needed)
1⁄4 cup melted unsalted butter or canola oil, plus 1 tablespoon for oiling the pan
1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
1⁄4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1⁄2 cup whole-wheat flour
1⁄2 cup all-purpose white or white whole-wheat flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups toasted walnuts, chopped (To toast the walnuts, put them on a small baking sheet in a 350-degree oven until they are fragrant and look a shade darker, about 5 minutes )

Instructions

Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. Turn the oven on and set the heat to 300 degrees. Using your clean hand or a paper towel, lightly coat the pan with butter or canola oil.
  2. Put the dates, raisins, and baking soda in the mixing bowl and add the boiling water. Stir and set aside until the mixture cools to room temperature.
  3. Add the butter or oil, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, and eggs and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Once the oven temperature has reached 300 degrees, transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the top has popped up a bit and a toothpick inserted comes out dry, about 1 hour.
  6. Set cake aside to cool completely. Once cooled, frost and serve right away, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and frost it the next day. (This is so good right out of the oven but honestly, it's even better the next day.)

DID YOU KNOW? 

Dates, which are drupes, are grown on palm trees. What’s a drupe? Drupes include olives, almonds, peaches, plums, and cherries, all of which have a pit with seeds inside, fleshy skin, and a thin outer coat. Almost all date recipes call for dates that have shriveled and dried out a bit (fresh dates are not readily available).

TO MAKE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

Kitchen Gear
Small bowl
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Large spoon
Table knife
 

Ingredients
3/4 cup cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/4 cup plain or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
 

Instructions
1. Put everything in the bowl and mix until smooth.
2. When the cake is completely cool, use the knife to swirl the frosting over the top. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.