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Crackly Date and Walnut Cakes

Moroccans who serve cakes at teatime rather than as dessert tend to prefer versions that are slightly savory in character. Dusting the buttered ramekins with sugar helps these light and tender cakes develop incredibly crackly crusts, but adds hardly any sweetness.

Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • Butter and granulated sugar, for coating
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (4 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and sugar six 1-cup ramekins. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the confectioners' sugar until dissolved. Stir in the dates, walnuts and oil, then stir in the dry ingredients.
  2. In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites to firm peaks. Stir one-third of the whites into the batter to loosen it; fold in another third of the whites until incorporated, then gently fold in the remaining whites until just a few white streaks remain. Neatly spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins.
  3. Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes, or until puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around the sides to loosen the cakes and unmold them onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The cakes can be prepared early in the day and kept at room temperature.

Serve With

Sweetened whipped cream.

Published March 2005

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