April 14, 2021


My blog friend Angela mentioned recently that she had made some date and apple galettes for dessert.  That sounded like a heavenly combination to me and one that would probably be good in a cake.

I looked for recipes on the internet but nothing really appealed so I decided to adapt one I've used before.

I used Mary Berry's recipe for her "American apple and apricot cake" which I wrote about here.  The recipe appears in her "Baking Bible" and "100 cakes and bakes".  Instead of the apricots, almond extract and normal caster sugar I used chopped dates, vanilla extract and golden caster sugar, for a more mellow flavour to fit with the dates.  It was an adaptation that really worked.

It's a lovely, moist cake and less like a full-on fruit cake than many of the internet recipes I found.  Date and apple are truly a lovely combination. Great to go with a cup of tea in the afternoon or, of course, served warm for dessert.  Many thanks to Angela for giving me the idea.


250g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

225g golden caster sugar

2 eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

150g butter, melted

225g cooking apples, peeled (I used 1 large Bramley)

100g chopped dates

a splash of milk if needed

25g flaked almonds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 160° C / 140° fan / gas mk 3.  Butter and line the base of a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Put all the ingredients except for the fruit, milk and almonds into a large bowl, mix well to combine then beat for one minute until smooth.  Slice the apples straight into the bowl, add the dates and stir in to combine evenly,  Add the milk if the mixture seems overly stiff.  (Mine did.)

Spoon into the tin and level the top.  Tap on the worktop a few times to settle the mixture and release any air bubbles.  Sprinkle over the flaked almonds if you are using them.

Bake for 1 - 1½ hours until done.  Check after 1 hour but beware of the cake sinking if you open the oven door too soon (mine did and was done in 1¼ hours).  Cool in the tin for a few minutes before releasing the cake carefully.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake before releasing the clip so that the cake won't split.

Cool on a rack and serve cold or slightly warm.

Cuts into 10-12 slices.


  1. I made many apple cakes over the years, but I can't remember ever combining the apples with dates. That's a great idea. That would suit me very well as a satisfying dessert.

    1. Phil, apples go with many things and this combination was lovely!

  2. This sounds good, and I have some dates to use up.

    1. Snowy, I'm sure you would like it! There's no need to soak the dates although I did think I might splash a little something alcoholic over them next time!

  3. During the war (In my case I'm talking World War Two though it wasn't a solitary conflict: think Korea, the Malayan insurrection, disturbances in Cyprus, in Kenya, the invasion of Suez, etc. etc) most forms of fruit were rare; they just weren't grown in the UK. For some reason I've never understood, dates were available. Uniquely packed in tissue paper and in a box with rounded corners and a luridly coloured label. Dates also seemed to arrive at Christmas and were said to be "a treat".

    I was very young, of course, but my palate was developing. Treat or not, I found flakes of some harder substance in dates and didn't care for them. Aiming to be a wit I referred to these as "toenail clippiungs" and was punished for being coarse. Although in this case the punishment was merely verbal, not physically painful.

    I haven't tried dates since. Since it seems dates may be a constituent of cakes I assume dates have now lost this unhappy feature. Or do date-eaters become habituated?

    1. Roderick, I remember those packs of dates and know exactly what you mean!
      I never shared my parents' fondness for them and nowadays for eating I would buy Medjool dates which are succulent and delicious. For baking I confess I buy packs of ready chopped dates and preferably not the cheap ones.