Vegan and gluten-free date cake from quinoa

Vegan and gluten-free date cake from quinoa

Heli Koskinen

Date cake is one of the classic Christmas pastries in the Nordics. There are many versions of this traditional cake available, with different spices, textures and decorations. This recipe is both vegan and gluten-free and thus suits different diets. The end result is spicy, tasty and juicy - just like a proper date cake should be.

The trick in this recipe is Sun Spelt’s quinoa which adds texture and juiciness to the cake. Thanks to quinoa, you don’t need to use as much flours and margarine. I also used banana which is often used in vegan baking as a substitute for eggs. The banana flavor is also a perfect pair for dates. This cake is sweetened with unprocessed whole cane sugar which also brings aromatic flavor to the cake.

In this recipe, the dates are boiled in coffee and rum but you can replace the same amount of liquid with water, if you prefer a milder cake.

  • 0,5 dl quinoa
  • 2 dl water
  • 250 g dates
  • 1,5 dl whole cane sugar
  • 2,5 dl strong coffee
  • 0,5 dl rum
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 150 g margarine
  • 1 banana
  • 3 dl gluten-free flour blend (or wheat flour if you don’t need to make the cake gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
(powdered sugar for decorating)

How to prepare
  1. Preheat the oven to 175 °C. Grease a bundt cake pan (size 1,8 litres).
  2. Carefully rinse the quinoa in cold water in a sieve. Boil the quinoa in water for about 15 minutes until it is cooked. Drain any unabsorbed water from the pot and let the quinoa sit for 15 minutes in a covered pan.
  3. Chop the dates into small pieces. Measure coffee, rum, sugar and spices into the pot. Cook the mixture in a mild heat for 5-10 minutes until the dates break up and dissolve. If you prefer, you can mash the mixture further with a hand blender.
  4. Whisk the margarine until light and fluffy. Add the cooled date mixture to the margarine.
  5. Mash the banana with a hand mixer or a fork and add it to the margarine-date mixture.
  6. Mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl and add it to the mixture.
  7. Pour the dough into the greased bundt cake pan and bake in the oven for about 1 hour. The cake is done when it leaves only slight stickiness on a cake tester.
  8. If you prefer, sieve powdered sugar on the cake before serving.

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