date and honey cake
Photo credit Vered Guttman

Date and Honey Cake Recipe

Ditch the honey cake for this moist loaf made with pressed dates.

On Rosh Hashanah, Jews of most communities say a blessing on apples dipped in honey and serve honey cakes, wishing for a sweet new year. This honey cake uses sweet dates and silan (date honey) for a super moist cake. It makes a perfect alternative to the traditional honey cake typically served on the High Holidays. Pressed dates are available at most kosher supermarkets, as well as Middle Eastern supermarkets and online. However, you can make it with regular medjool dates as well.

As with most loaf cakes, this dessert keeps very well and will be just as delicious (if not more delicious) the day after you make it. Date molasses or syrup (known as silan in Israel) is available online and at Middle Eastern and kosher markets. Regular honey is a good substitute. Use dairy-free chocolate chips to make the cake entirely pareve.

Note: Store the cake at room temperature, lightly covered with aluminium foil, for up to five days.

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date and honey cake
Photo credit Vered Guttman

Date and Honey Cake

This easy, moist date and honey cake is perfect for Rosh Hashanah.

  • Total Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 10 oz pitted medjool dates or 9 oz pressed dates
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ¾ cup corn, canola or neutral-flavored oil
  • ¾ cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup honey or date syrup (silan)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

Notes

Store the cake at room temperature, lightly covered with aluminium foil, for up to 5 days.

  • Author: Vered Guttman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Sephardi

20 comments

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  • Barbara Greenberg

    Is date spread the same as date molasses

    I bought date spread and don’t know what to do with it.

    • The Nosher

      No, date spread and date molasses are two different things. Date spread is thicker than a molasses.

  • Harriet Bryk

    Must you use a food processor or is there another way to make the date paste

    • The Nosher

      If you have a Vitamix or other very powerful blender you could try that.

  • Robin Resnick

    Is a mixer required or can you mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in a bowl with a spatula?

    • The Nosher

      You you don’t need to use a mixer if you don’t have one. Your suggestions will work fine.

  • Caryn Altman

    There is no mention of what to do with the dates and the water. Assuming you are saying they should be processed.
    Thanks for the clarification

    • The Nosher

      Hi Caryn, Thanks for flagging this. Yes, the dates should be pureed with the water after soaking for 5 minutes. Rachel at The Nosher.

  • Erica

    This recipe seems very sweet. Has anyone made it and can let me know? Could we cut out the sugar part and just have dates and honey?
    Thank you!!

  • Mariana Rosen

    I made this recipe and when I cut into the bread I couldn’t stop eating. It’s delicious.,The only thing that I did different is I mixed choc chips and walnuts into the batter and I think it made the batter too heavy and it sank in the middle a bit. Other than that it’s worth making it for Rosh Ha Shannah. Thank u for a yummy recipe. Today I’m making it again👍😊

  • Karen Cohen

    This recipe is delicious, however, it totally fell apart for me. I followed directions to the tee, and the cake collapsed, was raw, overspilled in my oven and never set. I’m assuming I did something wrong, but honestly, after reading it over and over, I can’t imagine what. It’s very unfortunate, because it really taste good. Of course I only got to eat the raw batter and the raw cooked cake, but I can only imagine. If anyone has any idea where I could have gone wrong, I would sure like to know.

    • The Nosher

      Hi Karen, did you test the cake with a toothpick (see direction 6) before you took it out the oven? It sounds like the cake needed to bake for longer. Oven temperatures can vary quite significantly, so I’d always recommend viewing baking times as a guide and using the toothpick test to determine when a cake is done. I’m very glad to hear the flavor was delicious, and wish you lots of luck with attempt #2! Rachel at The Nosher.

  • Karen Cohen

    Hi Rachel….Thanks for getting back to me. I did test the cake a few times with the toothpick, but it became harder and harder to do, as it was pretty hollow, since it exploded all over my oven. There was really not much left in the cake pan, but a big hole. Certainly the middle could have used more baking, but it had overspilled so badly, there really wasn’t any middle. And the top of it, where the toothpick went in, was already hard and crunchy and on the verge of burning. And of course that was all outside of the pan dripping down as well. I’ve never had this happen before, and just don’t know why, so I can fix it next time. I used the 5″x9″ loaf pan and don’t understand why it came pouring out the top and spilling everywhere. I think I will put it in two pans next time. It might not be as tall as I’d like, but hopefully it would stay in one piece. The good news is I ate the undercooked middle of the cake with a spoon last night, and I have to say, it is the best honey cake I’ve ever eaten. I’m usually not a fan, but with the dates and the cocoa powder, it really elevates it. Thanks again!

    • The Nosher

      If you are baking in one pan, it will depend on the shape and size. It may be somewhere between 60-90 minutes, but you will want to check it with a toothpick to ensure its baked through the middle.

  • Julie Sankary

    So good. Turned out moist and the dates and walnuts were a great addition. I would definitely make it again.

    • The Nosher

      Hi Carol, you first grease the tin to help the parchment paper to stick. Rachel at The Nosher.

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