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Date Chocolate Cake with Tahini Glaze

This is a delicious, moist, soft cake with small chunks of dates & dark chocolate topped with a toasty, nutty & sweet tahini glaze! Dare I say this cake is good for you? Dates are delicious, chewy, packed with health benefits & are an amazing sweetener. They add a subtle caramel-like flavor to the cake. The tahini glaze adds a nutty, sweet flavor and is also packed with healthy fats & vitamins.

The cake is easy to prepare and is lovely served with coffee or tea. It is certainly a nice change from standard loaf cakes or coffee cakes. The cake is easy to prepare and the only 'unusual' process will be chopping and soaking the dates. Besides that, its got the usual suspects: butter, sugar, eggs & flour!


There are various date varieties out there - I use Medjool dates for making this cake. They are sweet & plump, perfect for desserts. You can now find Medjool dates in most grocery stores. You can use any date variety you prefer, just make sure they are a soft, plump and not too hard or overly dried out.


Tahini is a paste made from toasted, ground sesame seed. It is a versatile ingredient with a light nutty flavour that can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes. Tahini is highly nutritious - it is full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. The tahini glaze will compliment the flavours in the date chocolate cake.

Why soak the dates with Milk & Baking Soda?

Dates are usually soaked in a hot liquid most commonly hot water with baking soda before adding them to a cake batter. But why do we need to soak them? and most importantly, why should we add the baking soda with to the dates while soaking rather than mixing it in with the dry ingredients?

Soaking the dates returns moisture to the fruit making them soft and tender while maintaining their sweet flavor. I chose to soak the dates in milk vs water to enhance the flavours while maintaining the liquid content of the cake.

Baking soda also helps soften the dates, however more importantly, it neutralizes the bitterness of the tannins found in dates and highlights their sweetness. Tannins are found in many fruits, particularly their skin. For example, apple skin has tannins, which is why most apple desserts call for peeled apples. The baking soda will continue to serve as an agent to help the heavy batter rise during baking as well.

Chocolate Date Cake with Tahini Glaze


For the Cake

1 1/2 cups Medjool dates, pitted & chopped

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup hot milk

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup butter, softened plus more to butter the pan

3/4 cups light brown sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice

For the Glaze

1 tbsp butter, melted

1/4 cup tahini paste

1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a bowl, add the pitted and chopped dates and toss with the baking soda. Heat the milk and pour over the dates. Let it cool for 30 mins while you prepare the rest of the batter.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a loaf pan and set aside.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients and the chopped chocolate. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, beat butter until soft, gradually add the sugar until light & fluffy.

  5. Add eggs one-by-one and beat until creamy. Add the vanilla extract & lemon juice and beat for an additional minute.

  6. Add the milk and date mixture to the wet mixture and beat for a minute.

  7. Gently fold in dry ingredients with a spatula.

  8. Pour batter into pan and bake on middle rack for 50-60 minutes.

  9. To prepare the glaze: In a bowl, whisk together the butter, tahini, milk and sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and whisk.

  10. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack then remove from the pan. Allow to cool for an additional 15 minutes then pour the tahini glaze on top while the cake is still a little warm.

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