Almond-Poppy Seed Cake

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| | Makes one (9 × 5-inch) loaf (about 10 slices)

For the cake

  • 1½ cups unsweetened, unflavored plant milk
  • 8 ounces dates, pitted and quartered (about 12+ Medjool)
  • 1½ teaspoons almond extract
  • 1¼ cups rolled oats, ground into flour
  • ¾ cup dry/uncooked millet, ground into flour (see note)
  • 2½ tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon, Meyer variety preferred)
  • ½ cup chopped almonds or walnuts (optional, for added richness and texture)

For the optional frosting

  • 3 ounces dates, pitted and quartered (4 to 5 Medjool dates)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted cashews (1 ounce)
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon, Meyer variety preferred (about ½ cup)
  • Additional nuts (optional, for topping)

This festive and hearty cake is not only delicious, but very fragrant. Its few ingredients and steps make for easy preparation, and you can serve it plain or with Lemon Frosting. Grinding flour from whole-grain millet yields a nice cake that is less dense and heavy than when made with oat flour alone. This recipe uses no oil, and still bakes up moist without being greasy.

Recipe from Straight Up Food.

Instructions:

  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a standard 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking pan).
  2. Place the plant milk, dates, and almond extract in a small bowl, and set aside (so the dates can soften).
  3. Grind the dry oats and millet together into flour in your blender, and place into a mixing bowl. Add to this the poppy seeds and baking powder, and mix with a fork.
  4. Pour the soaked date mixture into your blender, and process until smooth. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients, along with the lemon zest and nuts (if using), and stir just until all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes uncovered, until the cake is evenly browned with some cracks on the top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes before removing from the pan to cool further on a cutting board. (The cake will rise during baking then fall a bit during cooling.) Cool for another 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.
  6. Meanwhile, if you choose to make the frosting, place the dates, cashews, and lemon juice in a blender with ¼ cup water, and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes (so that the dates and nuts can soften). Then blend until very smooth, and frost just before serving.
  7. To add a bit of flair, grind some nuts on top of the frosted cake using a rotary cheese grater.

Note:
I have found millet, a non-glutinous grain, to work really well in sweet breads and cakes. You can purchase millet in the bulk section of healthier grocery stores or online and grind it yourself in a blender. You can also buy preground millet flour and use the same measurement: ¾ cup.

Photo by LA Food Photography.

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