Recipe: Apple date honey cake

Recipe: Apple date honey cake
Apple date honey cake with sweet sesame sauce and sauteed apples. Recipe (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes, plus cooling time for the cake

Servings: 9 to 12

Note: This cake contains no dairy products and thus is suitable for a kosher meal that includes meat. If you're serving the cake on another occasion, you can serve it with sour cream instead of making the sauce.

2 1/4 cups (9½ ounces) flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil, divided

1 cup dates, such as Deglet Noor (about 5½ ounces), pitted, quartered lengthwise and diced small (¼-inch dice)

3/4 cup walnuts (about 2½ ounces), chopped

2 sweet-tart apples such as Braeburn (about 14 ounces)

3 eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Sweet sesame sauce, for serving

Sautéed apples, for serving

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan, line it with parchment paper or waxed paper and grease the paper.

2. Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves into a medium bowl.

3. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the oil with the diced dates and rub gently to separate them. Add the chopped walnuts and toss lightly with a fork to keep the dates in separate pieces.

4. Peel and core the apples and slice them about one-eighth-inch thick. Cut the slices into one-fourth to one-third-inch pieces.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the eggs lightly. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until smooth. Beat in the honey. Beat at high speed until the mixture is smooth and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the remaining oil at low speed until blended.

6. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture alternately with the applesauce, each in two batches. Add the lemon zest and mix it in thoroughly. Stir in the apple pieces and the date and walnut mixture, mixing them in thoroughly.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 50 minutes.

8. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn it out onto a rack and carefully peel off the paper and set aside to cool completely. Tightly cover the cooled cake until needed.

9. Serve the cake at room temperature as squares or bars. If you are serving it with the sauce and garnish, spoon 2 teaspoons sauce on the plate alongside each piece of cake and add 2 apple wedges. Serve any remaining sauce separately.

Each of 12 servings, without sauce or sautéed apples: 429 calories; 5 grams protein; 64 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 47 mg cholesterol; 43 grams sugar; 182 mg sodium.