Dark Chocolate Date Cake with Pecans – Gluten Free

by Marla on April 17, 2011 · 274 comments

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Healthy date cake recipe with Bard Valley Medjool Dates

This gluten free cake is a happy hybrid of chocolate torte meets sticky toffee pudding. It’s a dense cake bursting with sweetness and flavor. Medjool dates are what make it extra special. My goal was to come up with a date cake reminiscent some of the greatest desserts I could think of, but with my healthful twist. All natural whole food ingredients mean you can have a slice any time of day and feel awesome about eating cake. Sticky toffee sauce isn’t even necessary, really I promise this cake is a rock star without it.

healthy, sweet medjool dates I am so excited to be working with the best date grower in the states! I have loads of chewy, sweet caramely Bard Valley Medjool Dates here and I will be sharing gobs of recipes using them (if we don’t eat them all out of hand first!) The Bard Valley growers are responsible for 70 percent of the U.S. Medjool crop. These guys know a thing or two about how to grow the tastiest, most luscious dates in the world.

Gluten free chocolate date cake with toasted pecans and brown rice flour

Do you bake much with dates? If your answer is yes than you know how awesome they are for adding a rich caramel-like sweetness and chewy texture. I also love using Medjool Dates in my no bake treats such as Chocolate Pecan TartsChocolate Cheerio’s Tarts. They are awesome in my Baked Coconut Oatmeal with Pepper Nut Topping too. If you don’t use dates in your baking then let this cake can be your introduction.

Gluten free medjool date cake with chocolate and pecans

This cake would be great served at Easter brunch, tucked into a lunch box, for breakfast or as a snack with a piping hot cup of coffee or glass of chilled milk. Chocolate, dates and pecans join together to form an irresistible flavor combo. Decadence in dates.

Greek yogurt parfait with gluten free chocolate pecan date cake

A really fun treat was taking chunks of this cake and making a layered Greek yogurt parfait. I slightly freeze & sweeten thick, creamy fat-free Greek yogurt and crumble up some of this cake. Tastes like an ice cream sundae.

Greek yogurt parfait with gluten free chocolate pecan date cake

Graphic with pink fleur de lis for Family Fresh Cooking

Medjool dates from California

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for your entries. Congrats to Averie from Love Veggies and Yoga, Jenn from Jenn’s Menu and Lifestyle Blog and Kimberly from Fear’s Food. Enjoy your dates ladies!

Because I love you and want you to have dates for Passover, Easter and in celebration of everything spring I have teamed up with Bard Valley Medjool Dates to host a delicious giveaway. They have generously offered a prize pack for (3) Family Fresh Cooking readers that include:

  • 1-pound box of Bard Valley Medjool Dates (plenty for this cake!)
  • Bard Valley Organic Medjool Date Almond Roll  (12-oz)
  • Bard Valley Organic Medjool Date Coconut Roll  (12-oz)

This giveaway is open to residents of the USA only. Winner will be chosen by random.org. You have until Thursday, April 21st, 2011 midnight PST to enter. Please do one or more of the following to enter this contest, leave a separate comment per entry.

Dark Chocolate Date Cake with Pecans – Gluten Free

Makes about 10-12 servings


  • I prefer to use high quality unsweetened chocolate pieces in this cake. If you want it sweeter and don’t mind the added sugar than use bitter-sweet or semi-sweet chocolate instead.
  • Walnuts taste great in this cake too.


  • 16 pitted Bard Valley Medjool Dates, divide into 10 (for cake batter) and 6 chopped (for topping)
  • 1 cup boiling hot Water
  • 3/4 cups Corn Flour
  • 3/4 cups Brown Rice Flour plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup Oat Bran
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Stevia Powder -or- 7 droppers full of Vanilla Stevia Drops, adjust sweetness to taste
  • 1 large Egg, whisked
  • 1 cup fat free Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup fat free Milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 ounces bitter-sweet or unsweetened Chocolate, Chips or chopped pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans, divided into 1/2 and 1/4 cup portions
METHODToasted Nuts: Preheat oven to 350˚F with the rack in the center. Chop nuts to the size you want them & arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice to toast evenly. Toast until slightly browned and fragrant.

Date Cake: Pre-heat oven to 350˚F with the rack in the middle. Line a 9×2 round pan with parchment paper. In a blender or food processor, purée dates with hot water. Set aside and let it cool. Whisk together flours, oat bran, salt, cocoa powder and ginger in a medium bowl. In another bowl combine date purée, egg, ricotta, butter, milk and vanilla. Mix together wet and dry ingredients. Toss chocolate pieces and 1/2 cup pecans with 1 tablespoon flour. Gently mix in chopped pecans and chocolate. Add stevia to sweeten and adjust to taste.

Put cake batter in the pan, be sure to flatten the top so cake bakes evenly. Gently press chopped dates and 1/4 cup pecans into the top of the batter. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out crumb free. Let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Loosen cake from the edges of pan with a spatula and flip the cake onto a plate, remove parchment paper. Flip again so the dates and nuts are on the top of the cake. You can do this by topping the cake with a dinner plate, firmly pressing and flipping again.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with dollops of sweetened whipped cream, thick Greek yogurt, ice cream or frozen yogurt.
  • Make a Greek yogurt parfait by layering pieces of cake with yogurt.
  • Serve with chocolate sauce.
  • Purée up some extra date sauce and drizzle over and dip away.

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Family Fresh Cooking Disclosure: I  have been compensated for my time to create a recipe, photograph and review Bard Valley Medjool Dates. I accept offers to post about products I love. I am proud to partner with BVMD on this project and to share them with you.

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