Oh Friends, THIS CAKE is the spice cake of my dreams. Earthy rye flour meets warm spices, dark brown sugar and soft, sweet dates. And it's all drizzled with a warm sweet-salty caramel sauce. It's no exaggeration to say that it is a new afternoon fika favorite around here.
I'm going to have to insist that you give this easy and extraordinary spice cake a try.
Why This Recipe Works
This Spice Cake with Dates and Rye is remarkable because:
- It's made with a combination of rye and all-purpose flour which lend deep, earthy flavor and structure, respectively.
- The dates are chopped and softened in boiling water and are pleasantly distributed throughout the cake which adds sweetness, flavor and texture to the cake.
- Instead of butter, this cake is made with canola or vegetable oil which creates an extra tender and moist crumb.
There are just a few ingredients to note in this simple cake:
- A mix of rye flour and all-purpose flour. The rye flour is here for flavor and texture and the all-purpose flour provides the gluten structure to ensure that the cake rises properly and isn't too dense. For best flavor and a better nutritional profile, be sure to choose a dark rye flour.
- Dates and baking soda. The dates here are chopped, combined with baking soda and covered with boiling water for 30 minutes. The baking soda and boiling water work together to help the skins of the dates soften which creates a better texture in the baked cake.
- Cinnamon and cardamom. These are the warm spices that lend to the wonderful flavor of the cake.
- A combination of dark brown sugar and granulated sugar. This provides just the right caramel-y sweetness to complement the dates without making the cake too sweet.
- Canola or vegetable oil. It turns out that oil has more fat than butter (butter is part water), and the oil gives this cake a delightfully moist and tender crumb.
- The 3 Ingredient Caramel Sauce that is drizzled over the top is certainly optional. A dusting of powdered sugar would be nice as well. BUT...the caramel sauce is SO simple and delicious with this cake. I highly recommend whipping up a batch while the cake cools. You won't be sorry!
A 9 inch springform pan works best for this cake because you can very easily detach the sides when you are ready to serve. That said, a 9 inch cake pan can be used instead, but it will require you to flip the cake out before serving.
How To Make This Recipe
This Spice Cake with Dates and Rye is really simple to put together....no mixer required!
- Begin by softening the dates as they require 30 minutes to soak. Chop the dates and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle the baking soda over the top and then pour boiling water over them until they are fully submerged. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap and let them sit for 30 minutes. DRAIN the dates and set aside.
- Next, combine the flours, salt, baking powder, cardamom and cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk together.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the sugars, vanilla and oil together. Add the eggs and whisk until the mixture is light in color and homogenous in texture.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient and stir until the batter just comes together.
- Add the dates and stir until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
- Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 inch springform pan and smooth the top. A small offset spatula works really well here.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until the cake is puffed in the center and firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in to the center comes out clean.
- Let cool and serve with 3 Ingredient Salted Caramel Sauce, if desired.
This cake is such an easy afternoon baking project, but I do have a few tips and tricks for ensuring that your cake is the best it can be every time:
- Make sure your brown sugar is soft and fresh. This just helps it blend more easily with the oil, granulated sugar and vanilla extract.
- Be careful not to under bake the cake. Sometimes this cake seems like it is done because it has puffed in the center, but if the center is actually not done, it will collapse in the center and be a bit gooey in texture. Still delicious but not ideal. Be sure the cake is firm in the center and bounces back when pressed with your finger. A skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
I really love the flavor of rye flour here, but yes, you could use whole wheat, white whole wheat, spelt or all-purpose flour in place of the rye.
This cake stores well at room temperature wrapped tightly in plastic for a couple of days.
Yes! It freezes well. It should be tightly wrapped in plastic and placed in a tightly sealed freezer bag. It will keep for about 6 weeks. Simply allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
Absolutely! If possible, try to find a salted caramel sauce as it really pairs nicely wit the sweetness of the cake.
I really hope you will give this moist and DELICIOUS Spice Cake with Dates and Rye a try. It's sure to become a new favorite. Looking for more Scandinavian-inspired cakes to pair with your afternoon coffee? I've got several here for you to choose from:
Spice Cake with Dates, Rye and Salted Caramel Drizzle
- 9 inch springform pan
- 8 ounces chopped pitted dates about 1 ½ cups
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup canola oil
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup rye flour
- 3 Ingredient Salted Caramel Sauce for serving optional but delicious
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside. Combine dates and baking soda in a bowl and cover with boiling water until submerged. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to allow the dates to soften. Drain the dates and set aside.
- Meanwhile, whisk salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, flour and rye flour together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk the sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and oil together in a medium bowl. Add one egg at a time, whisking thoroughly until fully incorporated before adding the other egg.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, Mixing until just combined. Add the dates and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Smooth the top with a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake is firm to the touch in the center, about 40-45 minutes.
- Allow to cool before removing the sides from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature with 3 Ingredient Salted Caramel Sauce if desired.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Spice Cake with Dates, Rye and Salted Caramel Drizzle and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.