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Mai's Indonesian Date Cake

On a recent holiday I caught up with my Sister-in-law and we talked food and cooking. The subject of the amount of sugar we consume in Western society and she offered a wonderful recipe of an Indonesian Date Cake which only contains a ¼ cup of brown sugar and the rest of the sweetness comes from the dates. There are no eggs in this cake either so suitable for those that can't eat them. This is a really inexpensive cake that keeps well so it's a win/win.

I made this cake recently and the result was wonderful. I recommend this recipe and will offer more sugar-free or at the very least limited sugar recipes as I discover and test them.


  • 1 cup warm milk

  • 25 dates remove the pits.

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1½ cups SR flour

  • ½ cups brown sugar

  • ½ cups vegetable oil

  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence


  • Grease and line with baking paper a 9in loaf pan

  • Set oven temperature at 350°F or 180°C

  • Soak dates in the warm milk overnight but don't keep in the fridge.( the sugar content of dates keep milk from souring) or alternatively put the dates and milk in a saucepan over a low heat for about 10 minutes – switch off and let cool to room temperature.

  • Place dates, milk and brown sugar into a blender and blend to a paste.

  • Add oil and vanilla and blend again.

  • Sift flour and baking soda

  • Fold SR flour and date paste together and place in loaf tin

  • Top cake with either Almonds, Walnuts or Pecans

  • Bake 35/45 minutes depending on your oven

  • Remove when a skewer comes out clean – leave on kitchen bench top to cool slightly

  • Drizzle with a fine stream of Golden Syrup for an extra dimension if preferred

Cook’s Notes:

This is one of those cakes you’ll make time and time again. The ingredients are simple and usually found in the larder so need for that mad dash to the grocer. Dates keep for such a long time in the cupboard so there is nearly always enough to make the cake. The nuts and drizzle of Golden Syrup are optional but give the cake a nice crunch and there is no need for icing and adding all that unnecessary sugar. The cake keeps well in an airtight container for about 5 days…not that it will last that long. Please do not store in the refrigerator as it has a rather horrible habit of drying everything out.

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