Birthday Nut and Date Cake

I often make this cake for my birthday which is why it bears the same name. I love serving delicious cakes that are gluten free, egg free, lactose free and vegan. It always surprises people that these actually exist and that the taste is very good. My mother in law for example was very prejudiced towards healthy cakes for several years, especially vegan cakes since she and her hubby had once been to a wedding (with vegan catering) and the food, especially the cakes tasted horrendous. I nodded and said that vegan cakes could be that way (which is absolutely true). I have found that it is no good arguing about these things since people's minds are usually made up about the subject. But one time, at a gathering at my place just as she finished the cake off her dish she sighed and said "wonderful cake...I am having a little more of it". I said to her "Did you know that this cake you just scoffed down is vegan". Her mouth dropped as she had just declared it her favourite cake of all time.That for me is always a sweet thing and teaches you that you should never force beliefs onto others, allow them the freedom to make up their own minds.

Note that you will need a round spring form cake tin 23 centimetres (9 inches) in diameter, 4 centimetres (1½ inches) deep. You will also need a food processor (you can get by with using a blender).

I always prepare this healthy cake for my birthday

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose (dairy) free
  • Vegan

Birthday Nut and Date Cake

Makes one birthday cake


  • 125 grams (4¼ oz) pitted dates, chopped coarsely
  • 200 millilitres (7 fluid oz) apple juice
  • 100 grams (3½ oz) almonds, toasted and ground
  • 50 grams (1½ oz) cashew nuts, toasted and ground
  • 50 grams (1½ oz) hazelnuts, toasted and ground
  • 45 grams (1½ oz) desiccated coconut
  • 3 banana, very ripe (1 mashed, 2 sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon aluminium free and gluten free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (from a health food store)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt (Himalaya or sea salt)
  • 100 millilitres (3½ fluid oz) apple sauce
  • 45 grams (1½ oz) dark chocolate, melted (optional)


  1. Chop the 125 grams dates coarsely.
  2. Place the dates in a medium saucepan and add the 200 millilitres apple juice. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the dates are soft.
  3. Meanwhile toast the nuts. To do this, place the 50 grams cashew nuts, 50 grams hazelnuts and 100 grams almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 6 for 5 minutes; it's important to use a timer since it is extremely easy to forget the nuts in the oven! Allow the nuts to cool and then rub the skins off the hazelnuts.
  4. Place the nuts and almonds in a food processor and mix for 7-10 seconds or until fairly finely ground (but not so that the nuts/almonds resemble flour). Set aside.
  5. Drain the juice from dates and reserve the liquid.
  6. Place the dates and one banana in a food processor along with half the reserved liquid. Mix for 10 seconds. You might need to scrape the sides of the bowl. Continue blending for 5 seconds. Add more liquid if needed to make the mixture fairly smooth.
  7. Transfer the dates/banana mix to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir everything together.
  8. Line a round spring form cake tin 23 centimetres (9 inches) in diameter, 4 centimetres (1½ inches) deep, with baking parchment.
  9. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius/350 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 4, for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Once the cake is ready, remove from the oven and immediately pierce it all over with a sharp knife. Spread the 100 millilitres apple sauce over the cake (spread one tablespoon at a time).
  11. Allow to cool completely.
  12. Slice the remaining 2 bananas and arrange the slices on top of the cake. Add more cinnamon if you prefer.
  13. Melt the chocolate and drissle on top of the cake. 


  • If the coconut oil is cold (in which case it becomes solid), place the jar in a bowl filled with hot water for a couple of minutes.
  • You can use Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts and walnuts instead of the nuts used in the recipe.
  • You can add cacao nibs for an extra healthy option.
  • You can use regular baking powder instead of the aluminium and gluten free one.
  • You can use organic baby food instead of the apple sauce. Use baby food with apples, apricots, pineapples, bananas or pears. Just make sure they are without added sugar.
  • The cake freezes well.
  • You can decorate the cake with toasted nuts, coconut flakes or sliced fruits (kiwis, pears, bananas, mangoes, strawberries, grapes and more). You can also decorate the cake with seasonal berries.