Using Date Syrup as a Sugar Alternative in Baking

Date syrup can be used as an alternative to sugar in many ways such as baking, smoothies, dressings, on porridge or spread on bread.  It is an unrefined sugar that is made up of pure dates and water; because of this unrefined nature the syrup maintains the vitamin, mineral and fibre content of the dates.  This means that it is slowly absorbed and digested by the body therefore producing a gradual rise in blood sugar levels (low GI) and a steady release of energy.

You can easily make you own date syrup at home by combining equal quantities of pitted dates and water in a bowl; cover and leave in the fridge for 24 hours. The dates dissolve in the water to produce a gorgeous yet very healthy syrup you can use in many recipes.  If you want to speed up the process then put the water and dates in a blender.

I have tried 2 recipes using my homemade date syrup; the first a Ginger Coconut Loaf which already used date syrup and the second a traditional chocolate cake where I simply replaced the sugar with date syrup at the ratio of 3:2.

Ginger Coconut Loaf

  • 150g ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspn baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspn grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspn ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger or 2 inch fresh ginger grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 70ml date syrup
  • 1/2 teaspn vanilla essence
  • 60ml melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 180’C/ gas mark 4

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into lined 2lb loaf tin and bake for 20 minutes until risen and a knife comes out clean when stuck in the middle of the cake.


Chocolate Cake

  • 4 oz butter/ margarine softened
  • 2.6 oz date syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz self raising flour
  • 1 oz cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspn baking powder
  • milk or water to adjust consistency

Preheat oven to 180’C/ gas mark 4

Mix butter/ margarine and syrup together until blended then add all other ingredients and mix until well combined.  To test if the mixture is ready using a spoon pick up some of the mixture and then try to drop it back in the bowl. If it falls off the spoon easily in one lump then the mixture is ready; if too thick add some milk or water until you get the right consistency.

This quantity makes 12 cupcakes (16 minutes cooking time) or 2lb loaf tin  (25 minutes cooking time).



Both cakes worked really well and the flavour of the ginger coconut cake is delicious – be careful to use only the 60ml of melted coconut oil though as my first attempt came out quite oily tasting as I measured the solid oil!

The only difference I noticed with the chocolate cake was that it needed to be cooked for longer than normal so cupcakes needed 16 minutes as opposed to the normal 10-12 otherwise the cakes were very light and tasty.  

I have put some of both cakes in the freezer to see whether they freezer well and will keep you updated


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