Apple and Dates Cake

Apple and Dates Cake

Another fun activity in the fall is to visit the apple orchards. There are several orchards close to where we live but one of our favorites is Deardoff Orchards in Waconia, Minnesota. This is a fairly large orchard with 13 different varieties of apples on 5,000 trees including some Minnesota favorites like the Honeycrisp, Zestar, Haralson, Fireside, and Regent.

To keep the kids entertained, they have the kids haystack and farm animals. For the adults, there is wine tasting from their own Parley Lakes Winery. They also offer tractor rides to pick apples during the weekends. The Rustic Apple Barn is their “store” where you will find jam, honey, cider, pumpkins, squashes, crafts, and of course apples.

Last weekend, the Haralson apples were ripe for the picking. Haralson apples are medium sized, bright red in color with small conspicuous tan colored spots all over the outer skin. These apples are crisp and tart and are excellent for pies and for baking. We picked about 5 to 6 pounds of Haralson, enough for 2 pies. Since I already have a post on apple pie, I decided to make a cake this time. Sweet Medjool dates were added to complement the tart flavor of the Haralson apples. Instead of cinnamon, I used vanilla essence, giving the cake a sweet fragrance. The use of cake flour and half and half gave the cake a very moist and tender crumb.

Apple and Dates Cake

This recipe was inspired by the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook on Cakes & Slices, a cookbook that I refer to often for my cakes. Another recipe adapted from this cookbook is Orange Coconut Cake with Orange Frosting. This cookbook is part of a series that I have collected through the years. Their recipes are well photographed and triple tested.

Apple and Dates Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
  • 2 cups (225g) chopped apples
  • ¾ cup (120g) chopped dates
  • 2 cups (300g) cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick (½ cup/113g) butter
  • ½ cup (110g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120ml) half and half or milk
  1. Grease and lightly flour an 8x8 inch pan. Preheat oven at 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla essence. Add flour mixture and half and half and beat on low speed until just combined. Fold in apples and dates.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for one hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

Apple and Dates Cake

We all enjoyed our ride to the orchard. It was a gorgeous day with clear, blue skies :)

Apple and Dates Cake

More Haralson apples…..

Apple and Dates Cake

Our next stop was the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Apple House. The Apple House has a changing inventory of 50 varieties of apples throughout the season. Besides apples, they also sell squashes, jams, cider, apple pies, and local honey. Proceeds benefit the University of Minnesota’s apple research program.

Apple and Dates Cake

The Honeycrisp apple is Minnesota’s favorite apple and is now the official state fruit of Minnesota. This apple is a cultivar developed at the University of Minnesota. It is a cross pollination of the Macoun and Honeygold apples. These apples are exceptionally crisp, juicy, and aromatic, making them popular eating apples. If you have not tried them, I encourage you to do so as they are really delicious. The Honeycrisp is protected under the U.S. Plant Patent Act and may only be propagated by licensed parties. Today they are grown in several surrounding states including Michigan and Wisconsin, by licensed producers with the permission of the university. Source: Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Minnesota.

Apple and Dates Cake

These are the huge Connell Red apples. These apples are deep red in color without any stripes. Always choose the big ones. They are sweet and crunchy.

Apple and Dates Cake

We also bought some fudge from Walnut Grove Mercantile out of Marshall, Minnesota. They had a stand at the Apple House. Their fudge comes in 4 flavors – chocolate walnut, pumpkin pie, chewy praline, and apple pie. My favorite was the chewy praline.

Apple and Dates Cake

I hope you have enjoyed this virtual tour of the orchard. Have a wonderful day! 😎

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  1. says

    My goodness, so many apple varieties! I’ve never heard of most of them! I love the photos of the apples in the trees – a sight I have yet to see…

    Your apple cake looks so appetising – I’m having just a cup of afternoon coffee now, but no afternoon treats :( The fudge varieties look amazing but I think I would like the praline best too, though I am really tickled by the pumpkin pie variant LOL

    • Biren says

      This is the time of the year to try the many different varieties of apples. Some of these varieties are not sold at the stores. That huge Connell Red is really good too! One apple is enough for the entire family.

      The apple tree would be similar to that of a jambu tree and imagine the fruits to be “jambu air”. Interestingly the jambu air is referred to as wax apple, rose apple, water apple(?). There is a very old jambu air tree here in one of the park’s green house with all tropical plants and it draws crowds.

      Here’s another piece of trivia. Did you know that in the old days the Malays used to call the apple “jambu belanda”. Now is it epal(?) :)

      If only I can send you a few slices of the cake. I know you like dates and the cake is really tasty and moist. Would go nicely with your coffee.

  2. says

    I absolutely love apple picking…has to be one of my favorite fall activities! Partially because, well, it’s just fun and partially because i get to take home mass amounts of apples and bake away with them! This loaf looks so tasty!

    • Biren says

      Yes, we look forward to going to the orchard and getting lots of apples. It’s great to be able to try the different varieties of apples. They taste so good because they are so fresh.

      The apple cake was very moist.

  3. says

    I adore picking apples off the tree…there is nothing better in my opinion than a freshy-picked apple (except maybe a moist and spicy apple bread!) This recipe looks chock-full of wonderful fall ingredients, and I loved seeing pictures of your apple experience. Thank you for sharing with us!

    • Biren says

      Those Connell Red apples are really sweet and crunchy – just great for snacking. Wish you are here to taste it :)

      Yes, I try to use only one egg for my cakes because of the challenges of egg intolerance. I make it up with butter and half and half 😉

  4. says

    I wish I was there too looks like such fun! Visited an apple orchard once in Australia and I had a good time too! Delicious looking apple cake you’ve bake Biren:D

  5. says

    Like I said before, I’ve never visited an apple orchard before but this is definitely something I’m looking forward to doing with the kiddies when they get older. Sometimes I feel that being a mom allows me to be a kid again and actually do things I never got to do as a kid.

    I never even knew there were 50 varieties of apples, wow! Your apples and dates cake looks moist and delicious. I love that you used vanilla instead of cinnamon. I’m a cinnamon fan but I enjoy vanilla more. That Connell apple is HUGE! I think it would take me more than one try to finish it. And the sweet tooth in me loves fudge! Hope you and your family are enjoying the weekend!

  6. says

    That’s a gorgeous looking cake and those apples were just lovely.
    I did your recipe of ‘Strawberry Cupcake’, just posted it and have linked it to yours. Thanks for sharing.

    • Biren says

      Thanks Cheah! Those apples are really sweet and delicious. I look forward to visiting the apple orchard every fall.

      Oh…I am glad you made those strawberry cupcakes :) Thanks for linking back to me.

  7. says

    Biren, your photos are great and it looks like you had a fun day! Your cake looks delicious! I know I’d love it with the dates and apples combined. That apple looks like it would feed a crowd! By the way, I love the new fresh look of your blog!

    • Biren says

      Thanks Pam! We had a fun time at the apple orchard and more fun eating the apples and all the apple goodies :)

      Good to know that you like the new look. Still working on updating the posts and links.

  8. says

    I have never seen an apple as big as that Biren! I love going to the orchard – the fudge looks really good. And so does your cake! Dates and apples are a great combo.

  9. says

    Woow loved the healthy version of the cake…

    regarding the comment in my blog: I did the editing of the ping rose in Picasa and ised the Focal B&W effect….glad you liked that…

    • Biren says

      Hey Kamalika, thanks for your response to my question. You do take lovely pictures. The B&W effect sounds complicated.

    • Biren says

      Hi Eva! Thanks for visiting and commenting. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the apples and dates combined. The fudge is nice but I can only take a very small piece at a time :)

  10. says

    Biren, the last few photos are killing me! You know you shouldn’t show that to us. haha… Wonderful post and gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing. Hope you’re having a wonderful day.
    Cheers, Kristy

  11. says

    Oh my gosh, that apple pie fudge sounds so good! I’ve heard nothing but good things about honey crisps. They were at Trader Joes this week but they wanted 99 cents an apple! I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    Love your cake and the addition of dates really gives it that extra touch. Thanks for sharing and I hope you’re doing well!

  12. says

    Oh its like you read my mind! I love making anything with apples and now this is on my to do list! Love it!Love your blog and most importantly love your scripture verse of His grace is sufficient for me! XOOX Jessica

    • Biren says

      Hi Jessica! Thanks for visiting :) We eat a lot of apples in this home. Apple is a wonderful fruit.

      I am here a lot and it is good to be reminded of His grace.


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