Sugar Free Sticky Date and Apple Cake

A rich and sticky date and apple cake recipe with no added sugar.  This cake is perfect as a mid-morning snack and makes a healthy dessert too!

Sugar free sticky date and apple cake

Recently I’ve become interested in the idea of sugar free baking.    Have you heard the theory that you can omit up to a third of the sugar in most cake recipes without it affecting the cake? Except to make it less sweet of course.    I can’t say I’ve tested the theory to that extent but I often add little less sugar than a recipe states.

Personally I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth but unfortunately my children seem to be developing one.   I certainly don’t want them to eat too much sugar so when I was asked if I’d like to review  a copy of Simply Sugar Free by Susanna Booth, I said yes straightaway.

The book is crammed full of sweet recipes for cakes, desserts, ice creams, snacks and sauces, all of which use alternatives to sugar as a sweetener.  Most of the recipes in the book use fruit or vegetables, especially dried fruit as a sweetener.   Of course, the fruit still contains sugar but it also contains fibre, vitamins and minerals so overall it’s a better choice.  Some of the recipes use stevia, which is naturally derived from the stevia plant.   It is 200 times stronger than sucrose so only a little is needed and it can taste bitter if too much is used.   I have to admit, I’m a little suspicious of it and prefer to stick to recipes using fruit as a sweetener.  Luckily the book contains plenty to choose from.

Sugar free sticky date and apple cake

My first recipe choice was this sticky date and apple cake, based on an Omani recipe. The cake is sweetened with apple and dates.   Despite having no added sugar in, it is quite sweet. It also smells deliciously rich and treacly as the dates and apple are cooking.   It results in a rich, moist and soft cake.  But what did the children think?   Well, they ate a little but were a bit put off by the apple slices on the top.  So, no decoration next time!

The other recipe I’ve tried so far is the peanut snack bars which are sweetened with dried figs.   Now, if you are a runner like I am, these make the perfect post-run snack as they are filled with dried fruit and plant protein from the nuts and seeds.   But even if you’re not a runner (and I know most of you aren’t!) they just make a sweet nutty snack.   I made them as bars as that’s how they were presented in the book.   Alternatively you could roll them into balls.   My kids love to eat bars as a snack but I have to say they were suspicious of these as they didn’t come with a wrapper on!

Sugar Free Peanut Snack Bars

So what next?

Well, the recipes I’ve tried so far have been more popular with me than with the children.   However, I do have my eye on a number of other recipes in the book.   Both children love dried apricots so I plan to make the apricot and lemon cake.    I also fancy trying the oatmeal raisin cookies, the raw gingerbread and the apple freezer flapjacks!  I will definitely let you know if I do!

Sugar free sticky date and apple cake
Sugar Free Sticky Date and Apple Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
A rich and sticky date and apple cake with no added sugar!
Course: cake, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: International
Servings: 20
Calories: 112 kcal
Author: Corina Blum
  • 350 g sweet apples about 2-3
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice optional as not in the original recipe
  • 250 g pitted dried dates
  • 250 ml water
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
  2. Grease a square 20cm tin with a little extra butter and line the bottom with baking paper.
  3. Core the apples. Cut one of the apples (150g) into slices. Squeeze a little lemon juice on and set aside.
  4. Chop the rest of the apple and put it in a saucepan with the dates and water. Boil until the apple is soft (about 3 minutes).
  5. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter till it melts then stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Don't worry, it's supposed to foam up!
  6. Put the remaining ingredients - eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla- in a food processor. Add the date mixture and blend until it is combined.
  7. Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin. Arrange the apple slices on the top.
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes. A skewer should come out clean when it is ready.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is approximate and a guideline only.

Nutrition Facts
Sugar Free Sticky Date and Apple Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 112 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 71mg 3%
Potassium 189mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 10g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 3.5%
Vitamin C 1.3%
Calcium 3.7%
Iron 2.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Sugar free sticky date and apple cake

Some more sugar free bakes

If you’d like to try some more recipes free from added sugar then do check out the ones below

Date and Banana Oaty Bars

Date and banana oaty bars

Deliciously Ella's sweet potato brownies

Sweet potato brownies

Sweet potato & chocolate chip cookies






Places I’m sharing this sticky date and apple cake

Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by me, Corina here at Searching for Spice
Cook Blog Share hosted by Jacqui at Recipes Made Easy
Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily at A Mummy Too
Bake of the Week hosted by Jenny at Mummy Mishaps


Sugar free sticky date and apple cake recipe. This healthy cake is perfect for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. It's also a healthy choice after a workout

Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary copy of  Simply Sugar Free but all opinions of the recipes are my own.

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    • I’m pleased you like it! I need to try some more of the recipes soon too. I think because dates are quite a strong flavour the children weren’t quite sure about the cake. I think if I try some more of the apricot or raisin recipes I might have some more success with them. x

  1. I’m like you: no sweet tooth—but my hubster and kids are a different matter! I love that you use dates in this cake. Overall, this is a much healthier option for a sweet treat, so I’ll definitely be making this for my cookie monsters!

    • My husband also has such a sweet tooth. I blame him for why the children are developing more of a taste for sweet foods! I hope your cookie monsters like this. Good luck!

  2. Both these recipes look good. Thank you for linking to #CookBlogShare

    have to say I am guilty of having a sweet tooth and do like cake and desserts a lot but I don’t like them when they are too sweet.

    • Thanks Jacqui! I do love cakes too but definitely feel better about eating them when they aren’t too sweet!

  3. Love this cake!! Like you I am very interested in sugar free baking…the trouble is, most of the time my kids are not interested unless it’s crammed full of sugar…really need to find a few healthy dessert recipes that they DO like! Eb x

    • It is so hard to find healthier sweet snacks that the children will eat, isn’t it? My children definitely prefer recipes with loads of sugar in too but I am going to keep trying with the sugar free recipes! x

    • Thanks Kat! I think the cake has been one of my more successful sugar free bakes. I really enjoyed it and would definitely make it again if it was more popular with the rest of my family!

  4. I love that you have used the dates in this to make it sugar free, brilliant idea and with the apple I can imagine how sticky and gorgeous this bake is. It is a wonderful colour too. I have a big sweet tooth but I do make sugar free recipes from time to time and often add less sugar to my cake recipes.
    thank you for linking to #Bakeoftheweek x

    • Thanks Bintu! I’m trying my best to eat less sugar but it can be difficult sometimes, especially when fighting against the will of sweet toothed little people!

    • Thanks, although I only have a few sugar-free recipes at the moment! My husband has a very sweet tooth but I’m trying to stop my children eat too much sugar so anything healthier that they’ll eat too makes me happy!

    • Thanks Felesha! I tried to make the apples look pretty on top, although I didn’t manage to make it entirely symetrical!

    • Thanks Edyta! The dates are a great alternative aren’t they as you certainly don’t miss the sugar in this recipe.

  5. oooh this looks so good!! And no sugar!! Fantastic. Healthy desserts are definitely becoming more and more popular, so I’ll definitely be saving this recipe for later 🙂

    • Sugar free is definitely popular at the moment and I found with this recipe I didn’t miss the added sugar as the dates are so sweet! I have to say my family still prefer desserts with more sugar in but I am working on them!

  6. Sugar-free cake always makes me feel less guilty about indulging. This looks lovely. I have a recipe for sugar-free banana cake on my blog 🙂

    • Me too! I always feel better after eating them too. I’ll have to have a look at your banana cake. I imagine it works well without sugar as bananas are so sweet anyway, especially once they’ve gone a little overripe!

  7. There is a real drive at the moment to replace heavily refined sugar with more natural sugars such as those in dried fruits, syrups and honey and I think they work really well. This cake looks so moist and full of flavour.

    • Oh yes, it is really moist and definitely full of flavour. The dates worked really well and I didn’t miss the sugar at all.

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  9. Aren’t children contrary little creatures? I know mine would prefer this without the decoration instead. I would just prefer a HUGE slice of it. Thanks so much for sharing your incredible recipe with #BakeoftheWeek x

    • Thanks Helen! I’m so pleased you like it. Just wish my children weren’t so fussy but at least I’m not alone!

    • Thanks Ginny! I’m definitely starting to really enjoy treats made with desserts and without so much refined sugar.

    • I’m sure you’d love it Cliona. I really liked it and it is quite sweet because of the dates despite not having any refined sugar in.