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Paleo Walnut Date Cake

As much as I love a good piece of cake or a cookie, I’ve always detested the use of nuts in baking. Both the taste and rocky texture jar me and interrupt the experience of the said treat’s inherent smoothness that should center only around chocolate, peanut butter, cherry, or whatever the case may be. But that’s just me. I do, however, adore, seek-out, and go ga-ga for treats made with nut flour. It imparts a heft and richness that you simply can’t get from a grain. My usual nut-flour of choice is almond flour, in part because it’s so readily available. Coconut flour isn’t technically a nut-flour, but it’s paleo, nutrient-dense, and delicious…and also a little too heavy to use on its own. Enter walnut flour, something I whipped up in my food processor when it was time to use a mammoth bag of them purchased at CostCo before they went stale.

About to be alchemized…

 

 

No special equipment is needed to turn whole walnuts into a golden-brown flour, other than a food processor or Vitamix. Blenders, I’m not so sure of. If yours has a wider-than average bottom to accommodate the accumulation, and you feel it’s up to the task, strength-wise, go for it.

And then…there’s the matter of dried fruit from the pantry that may be approaching a rather ripe old age. Often, I’ll stock up on dates and figs, forget about them, and when it comes time to enjoy them, find that they’ve turned bullet-hard over time.

 

So hard, they wouldn’t be out of place paired with a slingshot…

 

 

A problem if you’re eating them out of the bag – but for baking, I found the perfect solution:  A good soak! Setting them in a shallow pan and pouring hot water or tea (in this case a strong Roobios) will bring them back to appropriate plumpness. And the tea is an added flavor bonus for the recipe.

 

 

Post-tea bath and the dates are moist and succulent once again.

 



 

I must say, the walnut flour works beautifully and is a natural pairing with dates, figs, and carrots. This is a wet, dense sort of cake…think bran muffins, and you’ll see why you may need to tinker with baking time. The center should be firm, but with paleo baking, that’s still not enough. I always let gluten-free and paleo cakes sit in a cooling oven for at least 30 minutes. And since the carrots will add considerable moisture, it’s best to play the waiting game.

As you may have guessed, this is NOT a quickie recipe. But if you look at it as an investment in your health, it will become a labor of love. Wishing you all a Deliciously Merry Christmas and A Sweet, Bountiful New Year!

 

 

Worth the wait!





Paleo Walnut Date Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 30 minutes
Paleo Walnut Date Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut flour almond flour may be used also
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt preferably Himalayan or sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free apple sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs room temperature, if possible
  • 1 cup dates pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil melted or at a soft-room-temperature
  • 1/2 cup dried figs
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Note: Cake can be baked in an 8x12 lasagna-style pan or in 1 round cake pan plus two small loaf pans. It will technically all fit in a round cake pan, but will be too thick to properly bake. If your dried fruit is exceptionally hard, now is the time for soaking it in hot water or tea. Cover and let sit while prepping the rest of the recipe.
  2. Blitz 2-3 cups of raw walnuts in a food processor to make a finely textured flour and measure 1 1/2 cups when finished. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, arrowroot, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, xantham gum, and salt. Fold in the carrots.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; but don’t overmix as it makes the batter stiff. Fold in the dates, figs, and then the coconut oil.

  5. Spray baking pan or pans, pour batter in, being careful to leave at least two inches of space, don’t overfill. Bake for 30 minutes before doing a toothpick test and it comes out clean. Turn oven off and let cake cool for at least 20 minutes in the cooling oven. I’ve even left it overnight and it’s fine.
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