Old Fashioned Apple Date Cake

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For as long as I can remember, my mama made this Special Old Fashioned Apple Date Cake during the holiday season. From Thanksgiving through Christmas, the delicious aroma of apples, pecans, dates, and cinnamon would often fill the kitchen. I don’t remember when we started calling it “Mama’s Favorite Cake,” but she has made it so often, and loves it so much, that the title just seems to fit.

Apple date cake cooked in bundt pan

A Holiday Tradition To Share

We weren’t the only ones to enjoy this treat for the holidays. In addition to the cakes she served with our holiday meals, she made batches in small loaf pans to give as gifts. This is a tradition that continues today. This apple date cake is perfect for gift giving!

Through the years, Mama has spent hours in the kitchen baking love into every cake. This year, I want to honor her by sharing her special Fresh Apple Date Nut Cake recipe with you. I hope you enjoy Mama’s Cake as much as I do!

What Are The Best Apples to Use For Apple Cake

Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Granny Smith Apples all make great choices to use in an apple cake. Choose your favorite variety.

Making Mama’s Apple Date Pecan Cake

Gather the Ingredients

Before you begin, gather all your ingredients. There’s nothing worse than starting to prepare a recipe, only to find that you’re missing a key ingredient. Here are the ingredients for Mama’s Fresh Apple Date Cake:

  • 3 eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 2 cups sugar (I usually use only 1 cup)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups chopped apples (4 small apples)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 small pkg of dates
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (can be omitted)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you’re mixing up the batter. This will ensure that it is good and hot when you’re ready to put your cake in.

Raw cake batter in bundt pan

Combine the Wet Ingredients For This Date and Apple Pecan Cake

Begin by placing three eggs into one of the bowls and beating them very well. Once they are beaten, add 1 cup oil. The actual recipe calls for Wesson oil. Older cookbooks often specified brand names in their ingredient lists. However, you can easily substitute another brand without a problem. Not only can you choose your brand, but there are also a variety of oils that can be used in baking: vegetable oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and more. It’s pretty much a matter of preference. I used olive oil in my recipe since it’s what I had on hand.

Now, you’ll add the sugar to your egg and oil mixture and stir until well-blended. Next, add two teaspoons of vanilla. I’m using my homemade vanilla, but you can use store-bought if that’s what you have.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at making your own vanilla, you can check out my post, How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract From Scratch.

After stirring in your vanilla, it’s time to add three cups of chopped apples. It isn’t necessary to peel your apples. In fact, Mama says her mother didn’t peel her apples when she baked this cake. However, she believes peeling the apples makes the cake moister. Since her cake is so good, I always follow her example and peel my apples before chopping them.

Once you’ve stirred in your apples, set the mixture aside while you combine your dry ingredients.

Dust the Dates

If you’ve ever worked with dates, you’ll know how sticky they can be. To prevent them from sticking together while baking, it’s a good idea to dust your chopped dates with a little of the flour. Simply put your dates on a plate and sprinkle a little of your flour on top. Then toss the dates to coat them with flour and set them aside.

Mix the Dry

Put three cups of flour in a separate bowl. For this recipe, I’m using unbleached all-purpose flour. I have also made a healthier version of date and apple cake by using whole wheat or sprouted wheat flour. The recipe works well with any of these options.

To your flour, add one teaspoon of baking powder, one teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir until well blended.

Stir the Batter

It’s time to start mixing your batter. Add your wet ingredients to your flour mixture a little at a time, stirring well after each addition. Because there are so few liquid ingredients, the batter will be very thick. To help incorporate the dates and pecans into your batter, you can start mixing them in little by little as you combine your wet and dry ingredients.

apple cake on serving platter

Bake the Apple Pecan Date Cake

Once your batter is thoroughly mixed, it’s time to get the cake in the oven. While it can be baked in mini loaf pans, my mama’s Apple Date Cake is traditionally baked in a Bundt pan. You will need to spray your pan with oil to keep the cake from sticking. Then spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 – 1 ½ hours. My cake was fully baked after one hour, so keep an eye on the timer and test your cake for doneness a little before an hour has passed.

How to Make a Healthy Apple and Date Cake

To make this apple cake healthier just make a few easy substitutions to the recipe ingredients.

  • Substitute the white sugar for sucanant. Sucanant is a less processed sweetener.
  • Leave out the sugar completely or cut the amount used back. The apples and dates themselves will naturally sweeten the cake. This may taste more like an apple, date bread.
  • Substitute the all purpose flour for a spouted whole wheat pastry flour or Einkorn flour.

Affliate Links -This is the sprouted pastry flour I use and this is the Einkorn Flour.

Both sprouted pastry flour and einkorn flour are easier on the digestive system. Also being whole wheat flour they have not been stripped of the germ and brand, making them higher in fiber which also gives them a lower gylcemic index than white flours.

apple cake on serving platter

Old Fashioned Apple Date Cake

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 16
Calories 379 kcal


  • 1 bundt cake pan


  • 3 eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 2 cups sugar I only used one cup.
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups apples chopped
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 8 oz dates chopped
  • 1 cup chopped pecans Can be omitted.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Oil the pan and dust with flour
  • Place 3 eggs in a mixing bowl and beat well.
  • Add oil, sugar, and vanilla to the eggs and mix well.
  • Next, add your chopped apples and stir in. Set bowl aside.
  • Dust the chopped dates with flour to keep them from sticking togther.
  • In a separate bowl mix together flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients a little at a time, stirring after each addition. Also start adding the dates and pecans along with each addition of the dry ingredients. The batter will be very thick. Continue adding the flour, dates, and pecans until all are well mixed together.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1- 1 1/2 hours. Test doneness with a cake tester that comes out clean. Check at 1 hour. Mine takes 1 hour but some ovens are different and might take longer.
  • Let the cake cool if you can and Enjoy!


To make this apple cake healthier just make a few easy substitutions to the recipe ingredients.
  • Substitute the white sugar for sucanant. Sucanant is a less processed sweetener.
  • Leave out the sugar completely or cut the amount used back. The apples and dates themselves will naturally sweeten the cake. This may taste more like an apple, date bread.
  • Substitute the all-purpose flour for spouted whole wheat pastry flour or Einkorn flour.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 379kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 4gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 180mgPotassium: 92mgFiber: 2gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 61IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Storing the Cake

The finished cake can be stored on the counter for a short amount of time but is best refrigerated if you will be storing it longer. This cake freezes well to have on hand when guests stop by and you need something tasty to serve.

apple bundt cake on glass cake stand

Enjoying Fresh Apple Date Cake

By the time your Apple Date Cake comes out of the oven, the wonderful aroma that fills your kitchen will have you looking forward to that first bite. My mama’s favorite way to enjoy her cake is with a hot cup of coffee. But whether you are serving it with your holiday meal, giving it away as a gift, or serving it with afternoon coffee, the combination of fruit and nuts is sure to become a favorite with friends and families alike.

If you decide to give this old fashioned cake a try, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear how you and your family liked “Mama’s Cake.” At our house, we think it truly is an extra special cake for the holidays or any time of the year.

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