30 January 2012

Date Cakes - healthier than ordinary cupcakes

You're going to see some changes in my recipes. I'm trying to cut sugar out of my youngest boy's diet. But for this sucrose monster, we'll start with baby steps. Considering he had absolutely no sugar all day, I think he did pretty well until he broke down at 4pm asking for cake. Don't let anyone tell you sugar is not a drug. Here's one for weaning him off. Technically it has no "sugar", but has natural sweetening from the dates, and just a smidgen of honey. As I said, baby steps - but it's still better than chocolate cupcakes...

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g dates, chopped
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice

  1. Preheat oven to 180ÂșC, then put the dates, water and baking powder in a blender, and leave to sit (for at least 5-10 minutes) while you beat the butter and honey until fluffy, and then add the eggs, continuing to beat.
  2. Add the milk to the date mix, and whiz, then fold into the egg mix, alternating with the flour sifted with spices.
  3. spoon into cup cake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and firm yet springy.

As you can see, I made these two ways - one in silicone moulds, and the other in chocolate truffle cases. The smaller ones only took 10-12 minutes, and have turned out to be the preferred option for the kids.


I'm going to start a scale below, rating my recipes on taste (as given by my 8 year old son), Healthy inclusions, and unhealthy inclusions - the higher the number, the more there is.

Lion's taste rating: 8/10
Healthy inclusions: 6/10
Unhealthy inclusions: 3/10

Tips to tip the balance: Increase health factor with use of whole-wheat flour, and you could use stevia, or no sugar at all to limit the bad stuff. I used a local organic honey to sweeten, and personally think the benefits of this may outweigh the drawbacks. Some might like to use cholesterol free oil rather than butter - personally, I'm not convinced butter is any worse.

Info on the good stuff:


  1. Hey Sarah nice to see you joining the low/ no sugar brigade. It makes a world of difference. Try substituting the flour with a mix of rice and teff, the texture is exactly like ordinary flour, but with some added benefits that you don't get from refined white flour. Good luck!

  2. This is defintely worth a try since I'm cutting down sugar from our diet too.I substitute less quantity of brown sugar instead of white sugar but that is not better than the white sugar.Wondering how my carrot cupcakes will taste with date puree..

  3. hahahah! good luck with that! how old is he?
    I´m sure if you keep baking like this he won´t mind the sugar-free diet!

  4. Sarah, sugar the white evil! my kids are the same, every afternoon we start the whole bargaining for sweets!! It gets to a point where anything will do as long as its sweet. This recipe sounds delish to me, and is very good for you, dates are an excellent nutrient, so I will give it a try, because I find myself arguing every afternoon with the 2 on how bad sugar is for our health, but lately no one is interested lol
    Thanks for the recips :)


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