Date cake (eggless)
Dates, those little packets full of iron and instant energy. When I discovered their use in bakes, I developed a huge infactuation for them. Used in the right quantity, they can easily replace sugar or sweetner in a cake, dropping its calorific value. It goes very well with jaggery too, thereby completely eliminating the use of refined sugar.
In my numerous trials to bake healthy cakes, my loyalities would often swing between whole wheat flour ( atta) for health reasons and all purpose flour (maida) for texture and esthetic reasons. For beginners, WWF is a heavier flour, high in protein, fiber and minerals. But also cakes made completely of WWF don’t rise much and the result is you get relatively denser cakes. On the other hand, when processing APF, most of its protein is stripped off, which gives an airy and light texture to ‘not-so-healthy’ cakes . So, naturally as a beginner when I mindlessly tried substituting APF with WWF my cakes turned out to be disasters, at times with a consistency which would put a rock to shame!Though occasionally, I managed to dish out decent ones too.
Consider the cake you are baking when thinking of switching the flours. Something like banana cake, which itself is a dense cake may not respond well to the transition. On the other hand lighter cakes like orange or vanilla may not show any stark difference. Start swapping one-fourth to half of APF with WWF, rather than completely replacing APF. But then there are a number of other factors too like the flavor. All flavors do not gel well with the wheaty-nutty flavor of whole wheat, and again you may also have to change the proportion of baking powder and/or baking soda. Before this blog starts to look like an arithmetic class, I will save the topic for some other day and move ahead with the recipe.
My personal favourite, this is my “most-experimented” ‘go-to reciepe for cake’ can be baked at last moment for any ocassion, or for kid’s tiffin, as my fridge is always stocked with them. My experiments would often result in hubby frowning over the half empty box of dates , precious two of which would have gone into our protein shake, eaten away by my cake. I use the seeded, fleshy dates which come in boxes, which do not require much processing before going into the cake. However if your dates are on the drier side and cannot be easily blended, boil and soften them in milk before blending into uniform paste.
- All purpose flour- 1 cup
- Milk – ¾ cup
- Jaggery- ½ cup (grated and lightly packed)
- vegetable oil- ¼ cup
- Baking soda- 1 teaspoon
- Baking powder- 1 teaspoon
- Dates – 20-25 for puree, few chopped to be folded into batter
- Walnuts or almonds – handful (optional)
• Pre heat the oven at 1800 C . Grease and dust a 7″ square tin.
• If using drier dates, boil them in sufficient milk till they are softened. Skip this step if using fresher dates.
• Blend dates along with ¾ cup milk
• Add jaggery and oil to the mixture and blend well. Add vanilla essence and give a final whip.
• Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda.
• Make a well inside flour mixture, gradually add the liquid mixture and mix until its completely incorporated. Add extra milk to adjust the consistency , if batter is very thick.
• Add chopped dates and almonds/walnuts.
• Bake for 30-35 minutes at 1800 C until a tooth pick inserted in its centre comes out clean.