I am very much a beginner baker. I don’t know much about baking. I am still learning, and definitely have a long, long way to go. I think baking is a craft that needs a lot of passion to learn and perfect, and I am still trudging slowly on that path. I am supposed to be on a strict diet and exercise regime and baking interferes a whole lot with that – that is the one reason I don’t bake as much as I would like to. That said, I find it therapeutic to smell the delicious aroma that the cakes and cookies fill up my house with, while they are baking. That is precisely what keeps me going.
With this background, you’d understand just how thrilled I’d have been when I recently discovered this recipe for a (relatively) healthy cake – a cake made with whole wheat flour and oats, sweetened with dates and only a minimal amount of sugar! I even had the option of omitting the sugar altogether and letting the dates do their job. This was my chance to bake a cake and eat it too! Of course, I had to try it out, and try it out I did, as soon as I could get all the ingredients together.
I was even more thrilled when I tasted the cake – it is just G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. Perfectly moist and just the right amount of sweet, it had the earthy goodness of a home-made cake. There was no artificial colouring or cream or icing in the way – just plain, delicious cake. I am happy to report that the family loved this cake too. I have made it twice in the last two weeks, and I am sure these are not the only two times I will be making it. It is, indeed, a great way for weight watchers to sate those sweet cravings, without feeling overly guilty about it later.
You must try this cake out to understand what exactly I mean! I am sure you won’t regret it.
Take a look at this beauty just out of the oven…
And here it is all sliced up, ready to devour..
Tempted enough to make it yourself? I’ll tell you how to go about it.
I followed the original recipe to the T, without any changes. I note it down here, again, for the sake of reference.
Ingredients (yields about 15 slices):
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
18 dates, deseeded and chopped
1-1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan and then switch off the gas. Add the chopped dates to the milk. Ensure that they are completely immersed in the milk. Let the dates soak in the hot milk for 15-20 minutes.
- While the dates are soaking, get the rest of the ingredients ready. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, powdered sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and whole wheat flour. Ensure that everything is well combined together. Keep aside.
- Grease a loaf pan with a little oil. Dust the greased pan with some flour. Keep aside.
- Preheat the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.
- When the dates are done soaking, add them to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, along with the milk you soaked them in. Add the vanilla essence and the oil. Mix well, until everything is well combined together.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and shake it gently to level it out.
- If you want to, you could sprinkle some more quick-cooking oats and/or nuts of your choice on top of the batter in the loaf pan.
- Put the loaf pan into the oven and bake at 175 degrees for about 35 minutes or until the cake is done. A knife inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely. Cut into slices when the cake is cool enough to handle.
You could omit the powdered sugar altogether, and just let the dates sweeten the cake. Personally, though, I felt the sugar is a necessary addition.