Carrot Dates Cake

One of my most favorite cakes…made with the goodness of carrots and loaded with dates. This cake speaks of all its glory by itself. My love for carrot dates cake started many years back when I tasted one from a bakery in my hometown. Each time I had it, I got more addicted to it. So when I got this recipe from my aunt, I was very excited to recreate it at home. I have already posted our favorite chocolate cake from her recipe collection.

I don’t remember how many times I baked this carrot dates cake in the past few months. Whenever we get a box of dates, I get the idea of making carrot dates cake. This has become a routine that now my kids started complaining “Amma, leave a few of those dates for us to munch on.” Can’t really blame them…I am obsessed with it:) And then I give the lame excuse that they can eat dates in the cake:) How mean I have become just for this cake!!!

How about baking this delicious carrot dates cake for this Christmas? If you have a strong hands, you can whip up this cake just using a hand whisk. Of course a hand mixer will make your job easier:) This can be made ahead as it tastes the best after one or two days when all flavor settles in perfectly. This makes a wonderful gift for your loved ones. Don’t forget to check the Notes section for more tips and tricks. Happy Baking!!!

Do try it and let me know your feedback…Share this recipe with your friends and family…And don’t forget to tag @bethsyummygarden on Instagram and Facebook:)

Ingredients:

For making caramel
  1. Sugar 1/2 cup (100 gm)
  2. Water 1 tbsp.
  3. Warm Water 1/4 cup
For carrot dates cake
  1. Carrots grated about 1 cup (100 gm, I used 2 medium sized carrots)
  2. Dates deseeded and thinly chopped 1 cup, about 20 to 22 dates chopped (I used Diglet dates )
  3. Large eggs at room temperature 2
  4. Sugar ½ cup+2tbsp.( 125 gm)
  5. All purpose flour 1¼ cup (156gm) (See Notes)
  6. Baking soda ½ tsp.
  7. Salt a pinch
  8. Oil ¾ cup (175 ml)
  9. Caramel 2 to 3 tbsp.
  10. Vanilla extract ½ tsp.
  11. Cloves 2 to 3
  12. Cinnamon stick ½ inch
  13. Cashews halved 2 tbsp. for topping the cake(optional)

Method:

For making caramel
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat ½ cup sugar with 1 tbsp water on medium heat. The sugar gradually starts dissolving. Lightly swirl the pan if any sugar clumps are forming.
Heat ½ cup sugar with 1tbsp.water
Sugar dissolves in water
  1. Gradually it starts bubbling. It passes through various stages of caramelization and finally changes to a golden colour.
Bubbling
Caramel turns golden brown color
  1. Reduce the flame to lowest and keep cooking until the caramel has reached a dark caramel color. (For this cake, caramel should be darker in color and slightly bitter in taste). Swirl the pan once in a while for even cooking. Make sure not to burn the caramel.
Dark caramel
  1. When a dark caramel color is reached, remove the pan from stovetop and carefully add ¼ cup warm water to the caramel(caramel is very hot, be very careful to avoid any splashes) and return to the stovetop. Keep cooking on lowest flame for about 5 minutes. Switch off the flame. Let the caramel cool completely. The caramel thickens as it cools.
Add ¼ cup warm water, return to stovetop and let boil on lowest flame for 5 min
Caramel is ready…Let it cool…
For carrot dates cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Farenheit/180 degree Celsius, 10 minutes before baking. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.
Prepare a cake pan
  1. In a mixer, powder the sugar with cinnamon and cloves.
Powder sugar with cinnamon stick and cloves
  1. Add 1 tbsp. all purpose flour to the chopped dates and mix well. This will prevent all the dates sinking to the bottom of the cake.
Mix chopped dates with 1tbsp. all purpose flour
  1. Using a hand whisk, whisk together remaining all purpose flour, baking soda and salt.
Whisk together remaining all purpose flour, baking soda and salt
  1. Using a hand mixer on medium to high speed, beat eggs. You don’t need to beat eggs for long time to incorporate air as we do for normal cakes.
Beat eggs
  1. Add powdered sugar and beat on medium to high speed until powdered sugar is dissolved.
Add powdered sugar and beat well
  1. Now gradually add oil while beating the batter continuously on medium speed.
Add oil while beating continues
  1. Add cooled caramel and vanilla extract and beat again on medium speed until just combined.
Add cooled caramel and vanilla extract and beat to combine
  1. Now switch to a spatula and fold in grated carrots and chopped dates in to the batter.
Fold in grated carrots and chopped dates
  1. Add flour mixture and fold in to the batter just until combined. Do not overmix.
Fold in flour to the batter
  1. Pour batter in to the prepared pan and place a few halved cashews on the top. Bake for 40 to 42 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Pour batter in to prepared pan and top with halved cashews
  1. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer it to a wire rack for further cooling.
Baked carrot dates cake

Notes

  1. For this cake, make the caramel to the darker side and slightly bitter. I used only about 2 tbsp. of the prepared caramel. For a more darker cake, add more.
  2. Once the caramel turns golden brown colour, reduce flame to the lowest and cook to avoid caramel getting burnt.
  3. The caramel is very hot. It starts bubbling when you add warm water to the caramel. So be careful to avoid splashes.
  4. If you use cup measurements to measure all purpose flour, loosen flour in the bag before measuring. Spoon flour in to the measuring cup and level the top with a knife. Do not overfill the measuring cup.
  5. This cake does not need much beating. Beat only until just combined in every step.
  6. Do not over mix batter once flour is added as it may result in a harder texture of the cake.
  7. You can substituite the spices with ½ tsp of all spice. In this case whisk all spice along with the all purpose flour.
  8. You can toast the nuts in a 350 degree Fahrenheit preheated oven for about 7 to 10 minutes. Alternatively toast on stovetop for few minutes until you get a toasted aroma.
  9. You can add some toasted nuts in to the cake batter along with chopped dates and grated carrots.
  10. Use good quality dates for the best results.
  11. This cake stays fresh in room temperature for about a week. You can refrigerate it for longer use. Thaw it to room temperature before serving.