The High Holidays are approaching and that means it’s time to bake a honey cake. I know some people aren’t fans of honey cake, but I like it. A lot. I’ve been making my Tipsy Honey Cake for years and love it. But, it’s possible that I might like this Date Honey Cake just a little bit more.
Like my original recipe, there’s a strong hint of alcohol, thanks to the rye whisky. The main differences between the two cakes is that this one is smaller, baked in a loaf pan. I know many people who might not want to bake a large bundt cake if they’re not hosting a lot of guests, so this is good option for a small group. The other big difference is that this cake includes dates. In this case the dates are steeped in the rye and then pureed before adding the rest of the wet ingredients and then whisking everything together. The addition of the dates adds a bit of a different sweetness and a lot of moisture to the cake. If you’re not a fan of honey cakes because they can be a bit dry, this is the honey cake for you!
My first choice for honey cakes is buckwheat honey. It adds a richer, deeper flavour than lighter honeys like clover honey. But if you can’t find it (it can be hard to find), use any honey you like.
Date Honey Loaf
Lightly spiced honey cake made with dates adds lots of moisture and flavour. Perfect to help bring in a sweet new year.
- 1/2 cup rye whisky
- 6 oz / 170 grams pitted dates (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (7 1/2 oz / 210 grams)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (4 oz / 112 grams)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. Spray a 1.5 quart/litre loaf pan with vegetable oil and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
- Place the rye whiskey and dates in a small pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove the pot from the heat, cover and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- While the rye/dates steep, prepare the dry ingredients. Place the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, and ground cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix together.
- After the 10 minutes is up, carefully pour the rye whisky and dates into the bowl of a food processor. Run the food processor until the dates are mostly pureed (there will be small bits of dates – that’s okay).
- Add the brown sugar and run the food processor until it’s incorporated. With the machine running, add the honey, eggs, oil, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a whisk to mix until just combined, making sure there are no clumps of dry flour left.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, using a spatula to scrape everything out of the mixing bowl.
- Bake for 20 minutes, turn the loaf pan and bake another 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. I usually cover the cake with loosely tented foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking so that the cake doesn’t over-brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing and serving.
What is a good substitute for the rye?
If you’re looking for an alcohol, rum or any whisky would work (I’m in Canada, where rye whisky is popular). If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic substitute, you can use tea.
Thanks so much! I can’t wait to make it.
I hope you enjoy it!
Hi Pam, I am going to try to make this gluten free. I need to find another alcohol that is gluten free. I have been looking for a honey cake recipe without tea or coffee or gluten because my daughter can’t eat any of them and yet she loves honey cake. I was just going to replace the flour one for one with a gluten free flour mix. Any other suggestions would be most welcome.
Hi! Rum would be a great substitution. I just double checked and the internet (specifically Bacardi) says most rums are gluten free.
You could also skip the alcohol and do all orange juice (but the alcohol is delicious 😉).
Let me know what you try and how it works for you!