Gluten-free Sticky Date Cake

February 11, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This recipe was inspired by a family favourite, and I have adapted an old recipe to make this cake gluten-free. It uses healthy almond and millet flours, also making it grain-free. Naturally sweetened with dates and a little honey, it is moist and deliciously dense.

After a few trials with these new flours, we were all happy to have our favourite back on our plates (warmed and nestled next to a generous scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream!)

Inspired by ‘sticky date & oat cake’ in ‘the So Good cook book’ by Sanitarium SoGood, Central Coast Printing, (2007). - KateAlice. —KateAlice.

Test Kitchen Notes

I imagine this could have been served at a lord’s table in the 1400s. While its large dense crumb may seem more like that of a quick bread, the dates lend it the richness of cake and the drizzle of maple syrup adds the perfect last touch of sweetness. This cake’s flavors are very well-balanced. Almond and millet flours weave gluten-free magic together for a final texture that will disappoint no one, gluten-free or otherwise. Dates are already so sweet that some desserts abuse them with added sugar but here, they sing. Note: I used 110g almond flour and 100g millet flour, which seemed just right. - Syronai —beyondcelery

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda/bicarb soda
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • .75 cups millet flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F/175 °C. Line or grease either a 8-inch cake tin or a 9-inch by 4-inch loaf pan.
  2. Place the chopped dates and boiling water in a small saucepan. When it comes back to the boil, add the cream of tartar and baking soda; stir as it froths. Turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside
  3. In a large bowl, combine almond and millet flours (using a whisk or a fork is best)
  4. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add the grapeseed oil and honey
  5. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry
  6. Pour in the dates and use a wooden spoon to combine the mixture thoroughly
  7. Pour the batter into the cake tin or loaf pan
  8. Bake for around 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean
  9. While it is still warm, poke holes with a toothpick on top of the cake, and pour the maple syrup over the cake

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mary
  • Madhuri N. Gupta
    Madhuri N. Gupta
  • Donna Pikl
    Donna Pikl
  • Starmade
  • Midge

10 Reviews

mary February 21, 2020
Thank you for the recipe. I want to make it but I just have wheat flour. I wonder if the amount will be the same (1.75 cups), and if the recipe will work well. Thanks again
Madhuri N. February 4, 2019
I tried this recipe with adding vinegar instead of cream of tartar. And I added some chopped almonds. I did not have maple syrup on hand, so i used date syrup instead. I found that some parts of the loaf had the millet flour taste grainy and uncooked and other parts felt dense and doughy. Not sure what the issue is. it tasted ok though. for a gluten-free cake anyway. I expected it to turn out better. :(
Donna P. November 25, 2017
I just made this using half dried figs and dated that were soaked first. It is amazing, but i also think topped with walnuts would be great.
Starmade September 19, 2015
This is a truly wonderful recipe. In case anyone is wondering, if you are short of dates (as I was the first time I made it) using half prunes works and is very tasty. Also if anyone is wondering if you are out of cream of tartar, whether the recipe will still work, the answer is also yes.
Dianne November 9, 2013
I've been making something very similar (before gluten free) for years. I would top it with Chocolate Chips and chopped walnuts. Even ones that didn't (think) they liked dates, loved it.
Kateq October 19, 2013
Delicious!! I used almond meal and millet I ground in my coffee grinder.
Midge June 17, 2011
Just saved this; sounds great!
susan G. June 12, 2011
I made the cake, using mini-muffin papers so they could be finger food for a group. I had 28 of the babies, and we loved them! Note for bakers: I took whole millet and ground it in the coffee grinder I usually use for flax seeds, to make millet flour.
susan G. February 16, 2011
Hoping to try this soon! I like the adaptations you are making, probably improving the wholesomeness over the originals.
I assume step 4 means "a medium bowl"?
KateAlice. February 16, 2011
Hi Susan, yes you're right-that's definitely "bowl" and not "boil"! Thanks for spotting the typo, I'll be sure to fix it.
Great to hear you'd like to try it; I hope you enjoy. It definitely makes a frequent appearance in our house:)