This festive and hearty cake is not only delicious, but very fragrant. Its few ingredients and steps make for easy preparation, and it may be served plain or with Vanilla or Lemon Frosting. It uses no oil, and still bakes up moist without being greasy.
I have received some questions about millet, as it’s a lesser-used whole grain. Millet is a non-glutinous grain that works really well in sweet breads and cake, I’ve found (see photo of millet at end of this post). Using all oat flour (which I commonly use) results in baked desserts being too dense and heavy. The millet lifts things a bit and results in a nice, moist cake that is thoroughly cooked.
If you don’t have millet on hand, I encourage you to purchase some (usually at healthier groceries, I buy mine in the bulk section; or online). If you’d like to use another type of flour in place of the millet, give it try and let me know how it goes.
As for pre-ground millet flour purchased at the store vs. whole-grain millet that you grind yourself (in a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix), I always grind my own, since that way I don’t have more flour than I need sitting around. But if you do use pre-ground, the measurement is the same. I don’t like to make people hunt around for unusual ingredients, but since millet works so well, I think it’s worth using in this recipe (I also use it in my Zucchini Bread). Thanks!
- 7 ounces pitted dates (11 to 12 Medjool or 22 to 24 Deglet Noor), chopped
- 1½ cups unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1½ teaspoons almond extract
- 1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¾ cup dry/uncooked millet
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup applesauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
- Lemon Frosting (optional)
- 2 cups sliced strawberries (optional)
- Place the dates, milk, and almond extract into a small bowl, and set aside for at least 15 minutes (so the dates can soften). Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a standard size loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inches) with parchment paper.
- Grind the rolled oats and millet into flour with a blender (30 to 40 seconds; millet is hard). Place the oat and millet flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and baking soda into a medium bowl, and whisk.
- Pour the soaking ingredients (dates, milk, and almond extract) into the blender, and blend until smooth. Add this mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients along with the applesauce and lemon zest, and stir until all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the top is medium brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and placing on a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving plain or with Lemon Frosting and sliced strawberries (or any fruit of your choice).
Lemons: A regular lemon will work just fine for the cake and frosting, but a fragrant Meyer lemon is extra good. Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange, and are in stores seasonally.
Ground nut topping: To add a bit of flair, grind some nuts on top of the frosted cake using a rotary cheese grater (as shown in top photo)
Baking powder: I use sodium-free baking powder in my desserts.
If you'd like 12 cupcakes or muffins, bake in a muffin pan with parchment paper liners at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes. For a square cake, bake in an 8 x 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes.
Above: Oat and millet flours together help give this cake a moist texture that isn’t too dense or gummy (which oat flour tends to do when used on its own).
Above: A couple slices of cake with chopped almonds added and Lemon Frosting.
Above: This is the type of millet used most in the U.S. You can find it in the bulk sections at healthy grocery stores, or you can purchase it online.
Above: To make pink frosting, blend in 1 to 2 teaspoons of the water that remains after boiling red beets to this Vanilla or Lemon Frosting recipe.
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