Icelandic Chocolate Date Cake

This rich chocolate cake is moist and sweet thanks to the Medjool dates puréed into the batter.


9-inch cake


8 to 10

Prep Time:

15 minutes

Cook Time:

30 minutes


About this Recipe


My very first visit to Reykjavik, Iceland was short (just 3 days) but it was certainly memorable and delicious. The bakeries are very much of the Scandinavian style, and while most cafes and casual restaurants had carrot cake on the menu (and I’ve shown you many recipes for that already), Chocolate Date Cake was also a staple dessert. Serve this simple, one-layer cake with a coffee or tea – you can also add a little whipped cream or berry compote to dress it up.
NOTES: The cake will keep, well-wrapped for up to 4 days, or can be frozen for up to 4 months.


  • 1 cup loosely packed chopped, pitted dates
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (dairy-free, if required)
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and dust it with flour, tapping out any excess flour.

Step 2

Place the chopped dates in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over, letting them sit for 5 minutes.

Step 3

Stir in the brown sugar, oil and egg, using a spatula to blend well and mash up the dates a bit as you blend.

Step 4

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Add this to the date mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and then scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to level. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the pan, then tap it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Step 5

To serve, dust the cake with icing sugar and slice to serve.