My husband was out of town on business for my birthday, so I was feeling a little blue. But my sweet daughter turned my mood into a happy one when she approached me and asked if she could make a chocolate cake for my birthday! She is about to turn five, so I hesitated—thinking it would be more work for me—but she quickly convinced me that she could do all the work. And she was right! This chocolate cake recipe is so easy, even a five-year-old can do it!
The only sweetener used in this chocolate cake recipe is PurDate date sugar.
That means that the only thing used to sweeten this cake is dried and ground-up dates! You get all the nutritional benefits of whole dates when you eat a slice of this chocolate birthday cake.
Dates are an excellent source of fiber and loaded with antioxidants. They contain a good amount of magnesium and potassium for heart health as well. Because the glycemic index of date sugar is lower than that of white processed sugar, you don’t have to worry about the unwanted sugar crash that normally comes with eating a slice of chocolate cake. Dates boost your energy in a healthy way.
Thank you to Ferdinand Beck @vegainsfood for the use of this graphic that helps us better understand what dates have to offer our bodies. If you want to know more about the nutrition of dates, check out ournutrition page. In addition, you can read our blog on “The Truth About So Called Healthy Sugar Substitutes” to find out how date sugar stacks up against other popular sugar substitutes on the market.When it comes to sugar substitutes, you do not have to sacrifice taste for health when using date sugar. Unlike other sugar substitutes that are overly sweet or leave an unlovely aftertaste, date sugar delivers a subtle caramel sweetness with a nutty finish. Its distinct flavor makes date sugar perfect for use in cakes and breads!
We live in Africa on the edge of the Sahara Desert, where our date sugar is made. Because there aren’t many places where we can pick up food, we have to make most things from scratch. We buy fresh fruit and vegetables from the outdoor market and make our tortillas from scratch. This simple fact has transformed the way I view food—and, therefore, how I cook.
Food has become something more to me than simply sustenance to keep my body going. It has become a tool that can either harm or nourish my body. I want to nourish my children by feeding them the best things I possibly can. As a result, you can no longer find white refined sugar in my pantry. Refined sugars are a detriment to a person’s health and there is simply no reason to use them. I have found that it is possible to use safe and healthy sugar substitutes in all my baking and cooking needs.
If you are having trouble knowing how to cook healthy and nourishing foods for your family or have food allergens that you are struggling to work around, you can reach out to my friend Alison at Wholesome. She is a board-certified, plant-based dietitian with an amazing story and can get you on the right track in a very practical way.
I love that baking with my children can produce something the entire family can enjoy. The best thing of all is it bonds us together. When we go home to the U.S. for the summer and eat out or pick up ready-made things, my daughters grieve, “Mommy, I don’t like it when we go back to America because we never get to bake together in the kitchen.” Even though it can be tough living overseas, I am grateful for the opportunity to provide my family with healthy and delicious food that will nourish their bodies.
This chocolate cake recipe came to be during the beginning months of Covid in 2020. I was pregnant with my third daughter and home bound. This provided me time to experiment in the kitchen with date sugar and learn how to bake healthy desserts that my family would eat. Let’s face it, usually healthy things aren’t very tasty, so baking healthy can be a challenge. That is why date sugar has become a staple in my house!
First, you will want to set your oven to 350 Fahrenheit and gather all your ingredients. This is a time to teach your child where things are in the kitchen. My daughter is sensory-oriented, so gathering ingredients is a fun task for her. She loves to run her hands through the flour and smell all the ingredients!
For this chocolate cake recipe, you will need PurDate date sugar. If you don’t have some already, buy it here and you will receive it within two days. You will need unsweetened cocoa powder. Cocoa is healthier than cocoa because it is simply the raw bean that has been minimally processed with no additives. It contains large amounts of antioxidants and is also high in fiber. In contrast, cocoa beans are more processed and have been roasted. But if you can’t find cocoa, don’t stress. Cocoa will work just fine. You will also need all-purpose flour. (I haven’t tried a gluten-free flour with this cake yet, but if you do, please let us know how it turned out at firstname.lastname@example.org.) You will need a bit of salt and baking soda as well.
For the liquids, you will need, oil, eggs, milk, water, and vanilla. Again, I have not tried a dairy-free milk, but don’t let that stop you from being brave enough to try it yourself! You could even sub the oil for applesauce for a healthier option.
Let me know if you make substitutions and how they worked out for you by posting a picture on our IG page @purdatesugar.
Like I said before, my daughter did all the baking (with my help, of course). The first thing she did was combine ¾ cup milk with 2 Tbsp of vinegar and set it aside to sour. She was not crazy about smelling this part and asked me why we would want to use soured milk, but it does give a nice flavor to the chocolate cake.
Next, she combined all the dry ingredients (except the date sugar): ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 ½ cups of flour, a pinch of salt, and 1 Tbsp of baking soda.
I love teaching her how to measure out the ingredients with a cup and spoons. This is a great way to reinforce what she is learning in school regarding fractions.
Next, she combined all the wet ingredients except the water or strongly brewed coffee. She combined 1/3 cup of oil, 2 eggs, soured milk and two tsp of pure vanilla extract. She even broke the eggs herself without getting any shells into the mixture! She added 1 ¾ cups of PurDate date sugar to the wet ingredients and let it sit for a few minutes. This allowed the fiber in the dates to absorb some of the liquid.
Next, my daughter added the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat with the mixer on the lowest speed for 30 seconds while slowly adding the 1 cup of water or coffee. I held the bowl for her while she used the mixer.
Now that’s a happy girl!
She poured the final mixture into a cupcake tin and filled them ¾ full. You can use a bunt pan or a 9x12 cake pan. My daughter always likes to decorate her own cupcake with pink sprinkles, so we usually opt for a cupcake tin.
We baked the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes at 400 Fahrenheit or until a toothpick came out clean. If you use a bunt pan or cake pan, cook for 25-30 minutes. Every oven is different, so just keep checking on your creation.
And the best part… licking the whisk!
The ending to this story is the best part! When my husband returned home from his business travels, he and the same daughter from the rest of this story made me a home-made three-layer ice-cream-chocolate birthday cake—my all-time favorite! And naturally, being the owner of a date sugar factory, the only sweetener he used was date sugar. Can you believe it? A delicious ice-cream birthday cake withno added sugar and loaded with nutrients! Doesn’t it make you want to just eat a big slice? Go ahead, have two!
I’ll be sure to post my husbands recipe soon!
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Rich. Chocolate. Mocha. Cake. Need I say more? Made with Purdate date sugar and a great love for chocolate. P.S. we suggest pouring our Purdate date sugar, chocolate frosting on top. Yum.
1 3/4 cups PurDate sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup milk (add 2 Tbsp of vinegar to sour it)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup of water (or coffee, strongly brewed)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 9x12 cake pan.
Combine ¾ cup of milk with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and let it sit to sour for 5 minutes.
Combine cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium size bowl.
In another large bowl, beat oil, eggs, soured milk, and vanilla. Add PurDate sugar until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat on the lowest speed for a quick 30 seconds. Slowly add water or coffee while still beating the mixture on low.
Pour into a bunt pan or a 9x12 cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool and top with PurDate frosting. Check out our frosting recipe in the recipe section!
Top with frosting, chocolate chips, nuts, coconut flakes or sprinkles - be creative!
Adapted from Liva Foods
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