This Vegan Date Loaf Cake is SO moist, perfectly sweet thanks to the Medjool dates, and topped with a delicious & homemade salted caramel sauce!
If you've never tried dates in a cake, let me tell you, you've been missing out. Actually, WE have been missing out because this is my very first eggless date cake!
The most fun part about this cake is it really was created by YOU. I asked you all on Instagram what type of cake this should be and what the topping should be and we ended up with a loaf cake and a salted caramel topping. Well, clearly you all know what you're talking about because this combo is insanely good.
Plus, when we add that salted caramel sauce on top this goes from being a sticky date cake to a vegan sticky toffee pudding that resembles the traditional Christmas dessert many of you grew up eating- but without any eggs or dairy needed!
While the full list of ingredients with quantities is in the recipe card at the end of the post, here is a quick recap of what you need for this recipe:
- Medjool Dates (pitted and chopped)
- Baking Soda
- Oat milk (or any plant-based milk)
- Brown sugar
- Oil (I used olive oil, but any liquid oil works such as avocado, melted coconut oil, or vegetable)
- All-purpose flour
- Baking Powder
- Plus...vegan salted caramel as a fun topping!
How to make a date cake
Chop & cook the Medjool dates
This step is actually pretty simple, but is crucial for the best cake texture!
First, slice the dates and pit them to remove the seeds. Then, chop the dates up into 1-inch pieces and add them to a saucepan with water. Bring the date and water mixture to a boil, stir, and remove from the heat. Then, immediately add in the baking soda, stir, and let the date mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
Why do we soak the dates with baking soda?
I had always heard this recommend in sticky toffee pudding recipes but wasn't exactly sure why. After doing some testing and some digging on the internet here is what I found:
- The baking soda actually made the dates sweeter and gave them a better flavor in the cake. I tried baking a cake with and without this method and found that by boiling the dates and letting them soak in baking soda they actually melted into the finished cake which was SO delightful.
- Apparently, after doing some research, this is because baking soda helps to neutralize tannins found in the dates that give it a more astringent flavor
Overall, after trying the cake both ways it's a step I will always recommend!
Add ingredients to one mixing bowl
Once the date syrup is done, add it to a mixing bowl. Then, add in the rest of the wet ingredients including the oat milk, brown sugar, and olive oil.
To keep things easy, add all the dry ingredients to the bowl next. The important step here is to add the flour first, then add the cinnamon, baking powder, and salt on top. This way, you can sift those ingredients into the flour quickly before mixing everything together into a thick batter.
Bake the date loaf cake
Add the batter to a loaf pan and pop that sticky date loaf cake into the oven to bake for 55-60 minutes. You will know it is done when a toothpick can be inserted into the center and no raw batter remains. This cake is super moist and will rise and crack on top when it is done!
Drizzle with salted caramel
You didn't think I forgot this step, did you?! As a final step, take that salted caramel that's been sitting in the fridge and drizzle it all over the cake. So sticky, so delicious, and perfectly decadent too!
FAQ & Substitutions:
What dates work best in this recipe?
This recipe was really meant to be made with Medjool dates because of their soft chewy texture. Other date varieties tend to be much harder and are less sweet. I actually originally created this recipe using Bateel Gourmet Dates which would be a great option!
Is there an alternative for brown sugar?
Yep! If you can access date sugar you could use that in this cake! Other alternatives would be coconut sugar or maple sugar which would make this date cake refined sugar-free too.
The last option would be to substitute white cane sugar. If you do this, I highly suggest adding 1 tablespoon of molasses to the cake for the best results!
Can I make this date cake gluten-free?
I personally haven't tried it, but if you do just make sure to use a Gluten-free 1:1 Baking Mix like Bob's Red Mill. Almond flour, coconut flour, or other flour alternatives would not work 1:1 in this recipe.
How do I store leftovers?
Leftover bread can be stored at room temperature for 3 days, in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. I recommend storing pre-sliced between layers of parchment paper in a closed container or wrapped in tin foil. Because of the salted caramel on top, this bread truly is best the day it is baked!
I truly hope you love this sticky Vegan Date Cake! It's full of sweet date flavor, topped with a luscious salted caramel sauce, and is truly an epic loaf cake for the Holidays. Enjoy!
More vegan cake & sweet bread recipes for the Holidays you will love:
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Vegan Date Loaf Cake
- 1 cup Medjool dates chopped
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup oat milk
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt 3 grams
- ¼ cup vegan salted caramel
- First chop the dates into 1-inch pieces. Then, add the chopped dates and water to a saucepan. Turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, immediately emove the pan from the heat and add in the baking soda. The mixture will bubble quite a bit so make sure to stir after adding in the baking soda. Set the date mixture aside to sit for 10 minutes.
- While the date mixture is cooling, preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.
- Once the date mixture has cooled, add it to a large mixing bowl with the oat milk, brown sugar, and oil and mix to combine.
- Next, add in the all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Make sure to add the flour first add the remaining dry ingredients on top so they get evenly distributed when mixed. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix together just until any large streaks of flour are gone.
- Pour the date cake batter into the greased loaf pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly within the pan. Then, add to the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes until cooked through.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and run a butter knife along the edges to help release the loaf. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and place onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- If using the salted caramel sauce pour it on just before serving and enjoy!
- Leftover cake can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days, in the fridge up to 1 week, and in the freezer up to 1 month. It is best to slice the cake and store the slices between layers of parchment paper in a closed container or wrapped in tin foil.
- Cake is best with medjool dates and other date varieties are not recommended for this recipe