No-Fuss Polka Dot Date Cake

Here is a quick and easy cake to bake which has a unique, yet mighty tasty flavor. The cake doesn’t need a separate icing — the nuts and chocolate chips which are sprinkled on top of the cake batter serve that purpose. The unique flavor comes from chopped dates which are added to the batter — please, don’t say “no” — this is a delicious cake. I don’t remember where the recipe came from; but I love the cake and have kept the recipe filed away all these years. When I need a “no-fuss” cake recipe, I call it up. This week, I have to bake a dessert in a hurry for a special event.  So I’m making “Polka Dot Date Cake.”

Flavors in “Polka Dot Date Cake”

Don’t let the dates in the cake batter scare you. If you have never eaten dates, this is a good way to introduce yourself to this fruit originating in the Middle East. The flavors in the cake blend together – the chocolate chips and nuts in the topping help — so that the dates don’t overwhelm the recipe. And this is sort of a guilt-free cake, since dates are very high in nutritional value including potassium and fiber. Yes indeed, this is a “healthy” cake.

I used whole Medjool dates in the recipe and chopped them up. These dates are sweet, moist and meaty. They add a chewy texture the the cake with bits of flavor. The dates taste taste like a cross between figs and prunes

No Fuss Cake

A very nice feature to the cake recipe is that it does not need a separate icing. The chopped pecans and chocolate chips which are sprinkled on top of the batter prior to baking serve this purpose. Plus, I baked the cake in a rectangular cake pan so there is no need to try to arrange cake layers on a cake stand and then ice the layers.

Making the Recipe

To make the recipe, first soak the dates in boiling water. The cake batter is made like any traditional cake  — use an electric mixer to beat air into the shortening, sugar and eggs. Then add the flour/baking soda/salt to the mixture alternating with the water from the soaked dates. Stir in the dates and add in a pinch of vanilla extract. Pour the batter into a well-oiled 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and pecan pieces which give it the “polka dot” appearance; then bake the cake. Cut into squares and serve.

This old, vintage cake recipe is a “keeper.” It is quite easy to make in a hurry and always gets rave reviews. Enjoy this “healthy” cake. I like it so much, I might just bake it again — this time for no particular reason!

No-Fuss Polka Dot Date Cake

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1-1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1-1/2 cup water, boiling
  • 2 tsp baking soda, divided
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Method and Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9″ x 13″ cake pan.
  2. Place dates into a large bowl. Stir in boiling water and 1 tsp baking soda. Water will foam up. Stir and cool.
  3. In large bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until well creamed.
  4. Add eggs and beat until smooth.
  5. Mix together dry ingredients (flour, remaining 1 tsp baking soda and salt) in a separate bowl.
  6. Drain water off dates, reserve both date water and dates.
  7. Add flour mixture alternately with the date water to creamed sugar, beginning and ending with flour. Don’t over mix. Stir in vanilla extract and reserved dates.
  8. Pour batter into greased cake pan.
  9. Sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped pecans evenly on top of cake batter.
  10. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake the cake.
  11. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.


2 thoughts on “No-Fuss Polka Dot Date Cake

  1. This looks delicious and a bit healthier than most cakes, thanks to the dates. They are so naturally sweet! I confess that I buy large bags of them at Costco and enjoy them straight from the bag like candy! 😋


    • Hello, this is a great cake! Sort of a “sleeper.” And you are not the only person who purchases dates by the bag for snacks — however, I never thought of checking at Costco’s. Will have to add that to my shopping list!


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