Rich and sweet, from dates, molasses, and dark brown sugar, this cake is an indulgent dessert. A generous drizzle of heavy cream balances the flavor perfectly. Chewy and sticky Medjool dates work best here, but any dried date will do. Excerpted  from the book AT MY TABLE by Nigella Lawson. Copyright © 2018 by Nigella Lawson. Reprinted with permission from  Flatiron Books. All rights reserved.


Credit: Abby Hocking

Recipe Summary

2 hrs
1 hr
Makes one 9-inch cake, serves 6 to 8




Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly grease your dish. Put the chopped dates, boiling  water, and baking soda into a bowl, give a stir, and then leave for 10 minutes.

  • Cream the butter and molasses until well mixed, then add the sugar and mix again, beating  out any lumps. Beat in an egg and keep beating—scraping down the bowl as necessary—until completely incorporated, then do likewise with the other egg. Beating more gently, add the flour and baking powder until you have a smooth, thick batter.

  • Using a fork, stir the soaked dates, squishing them a bit, then pour the dates and their  liquid into the batter and beat gently to mix  in. 

  • Pour and scrape into your prepared dish and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes,  or  until a cake tester comes out clean. 

  • While the sponge is in the oven,  you can make the sauce. Melt the butter, sugar, and  molasses over a very low heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Once the butter’s melted, stir  gently until everything else is melted too. Now stir in the cream, then turn up the heat  and when it’s bubbling and hot, take it off the heat. 

  • As soon as it’s out of the oven, prick the cooked sponge all  over with a toothpick and  pour about a quarter of  the warm sauce over, easing it to the edges with a spatula so  that the sponge is entirely topped with a thick sticky glaze. Put a lid on the remaining  sauce in the pan to keep it warm. 

  • Leave  for  20-30  minutes,  or  up  to  1  hour  is  fine,  then  take  to  the  table, with  the rest of the sauce  in  a  pitcher,  and  cream  to  serve.