Date cake (Sugarfree)

During the month of Ramadan there's a very special fruit found in almost every Muslim family home. The date, if you haven't tried baking with them you should give this recipe a try. Since date's are naturally sweet this cake is made with 100% dates as a sweetner and 0% sugar. Many who are not familiar with the month of Ramadan would think Muslims probably loose a ton of weight during this holiday but in most cases it's the other way around. in my case, I gain weight. loads of weight! So this year I'm trying to stay away from my favorite buttery, simple syrup dipped Arabic desserts and creating recipes of my own. This recipe is trully a winner if I may say so myself. I did cheat just a tiny bit and added 1/3 cup of peanut butter morsels in the batter but "hey" I owe every single morsel to myself after my 14 1/2 hour fast. Don't you think?

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup date paste (recipe follows)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted Argan oil (you can use sunflower, olive, or almond oil)
1/3 to 1/2 cup peanut butter morsels (can be replaced with walnuts)

Preheat your oven to 350* F. Butter a large round tart pan and dust with flour. In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk the date paste, eggs, and vanilla until light and creamy. Slowly stream in the oil and whisk to combine. In a small bowl whisk the yogurt and milk until creamy and lump free. Gently fold in the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt to the egg and date mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture leaving 1 teaspoon of flour to toss the morsels in. Toss the morsels in the a teaspoon of flour and fold in to your batter, making sure not to overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpic inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a cooling rack and frost with date frosting. You can decorate the cake with nuts, dates, or even peanutbutter morsels. Serve cool.

Date frosting
1 cup date paste
1 heaping tablespoon smooth low sodium peanutbutter
2 tablespoons honey

In a small saucepan under low heat combine all the ingredients and mix to combine. The honey gives this healthy frosting a really neat gloss.

Date paste
5 to 6 cups of pitted and chopped, Medjool dates
1 1/2 to 2 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (vanilla bean paste is wonderful in this recipe)

In a medium heavy duty saucepan under low heat add the chopped dates, 1 cup of milk, and butter. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes minutes or until most of the milk has evaporated. Gently press down on the dates with a wooden spoon, if the dates are not soft to the touch, add 1/2 cup of milk, cover and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Add more milk as needed until the dates are soft. After the dates have softened and the milk has evaporated, in a food processor pulse the dates to a paste. You may have to make this is 2 to 3 seperate additions depending on your food processor. The paste should be smooth but still have some visible date pieces in it. This recipe yields 3 to 4 cups of paste, so make sure to stay tunned for more recipes made with this paste.

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