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Maple Walnut Date Cake

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Maple Walnut Date Cake

Photo © Molly Watson
This Maple Walnut Date Cake is made with whole wheat pastry flour and fresh dates. Regular-style delicious not good enough for you? Make it crazy-delicious by adding a dollop of Maple Hard Sauce.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 pitted fresh dates
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. Preheat an oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan (spring form is nice here but not necessary) with butter (or spray it with oil), line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease or spray the paper. This cake likes to stick, so you want to take away any opportunity for it to do so. The double layer of butter or oil separated by parchment does the trick quite nicely.
  2. Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven until they just start to color, about 10 minutes. Set a timer for 10 minutes and don't leave the kitchen; walnuts have a tendency to go from toasted to burnt in the blink of an eye. Let the walnuts cool before going to the next step.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the flour, toasted and cooled walnuts, baking soda, and salt until the walnuts are pulverized. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  4. Pulse the dates, egg, maple syrup, walnut oil, vinegar, and vanilla in the food processor until the dates are chopped. Then whirl until the mixture is puréed. Pour the date-egg-maple puree into the flour-walnut mixture and stir enough just to combine them. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
  5. Let the cake sit at least 10 minutes before you take it out of the pan. It will contract a bit as a it cools, making it easier to remove and less likely to fall apart as you do so. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. And, again, that maple hard sauce is really just terribly good, not necessary, but if you're at all inclined to make a maple hard sauce, I can't recommend it enough.
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