top of page

Date Walnut Cake with Tahini Cream Cheese Frosting

About the Recipe

I had the distinct pleasure of collaborating with the incredible Rachel Simons of Seed + Mill to create the most delectable Rosh Hashana dessert! In a twist on tradition, we put our heads together and combined my date and walnut cake with Rachel’s tahini cream cheese frosting….adding a special and unusual ingredient—mastic!
The juxtaposition of the sweet dates with the tartness of the cream cheese and Seed+Mill tahini is spectacular. Including the piney scented mastic elevates this cake to another dimension. It’s just WOW! The creative energy we bounced off of one another helped me find new ways to use tahini in my Sephardic cooking and baking which I urge you to explore as you prepare for Rosh Hashana.


For the Cake:

6oz (175g) Medjool pitted dates, chopped 1 cup (300ml) water

1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

6 tbsp (75g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup (175g) lightly packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp kosher salt

½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

For the Tahini Frosting:

4 oz cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup Seed + Mill Organic Tahini

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp granulated sugar

4 Mastic crystals

For the Praline Topping:

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

2 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar


For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350Fº. Generously grease the base and sides of a 8 inch (20 cm) spring form cake pan.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the chopped dates and water, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let sit in the soaking liquid for another 5 minutes until tender.

Remove from heat. Stir in the baking soda and set aside to cool a little.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy for 5 minutes.

Adjust the mixer speed to low, add the sugar and vanilla to the butter and beat until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Adjust the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time until just incorporated. Do not worry if it curdles, it will come back together again.

Add the flour with the salt and baking powder at low speed until combined and remove paddle attachment.

Fold in the date mixture and nuts with a spoon to combine. Do not over-mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.Remove from the heat. Allow to cool in the pan then invert onto a plate.

For the frosting:

While the cake is in the oven, prepare the mastic by placing the crystals in a mortar and pestle and grind with the sugar until it's crushed into a fine powder.

Then add all of the ingredients, including the Mastic, into a stand mixer and beat until well combined and fluffy (approx. 2-3 mins, a hand held mixer works fine here too).

The frosting can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in the fridge.

For the Walnut Praline:

Pour the water and sugar into a small pan and place over a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Make sure that the water doesn’t boil before it has dissolved.

Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat (make sure you don’t stir during this process). Boil the syrup for approximately 10 mins, or until it turns a golden color. Watch the caramel carefully so that it doesn't burn.

While the sugar is boiling, spread the chopped nuts over a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan or chopping board and have an additional piece of parchment paper handy.

Once the sugar syrup starts to turn into a golden caramel color, give it a gentle swirl to make sure it's evenly cooked and then pour it immediately over the chopped nuts, making sure that all of the nuts are covered.

Allow the nuts and sugar to cool into a flat sheet (approximately 10 mins). Once cool, place the second piece of parchment paper over the top and use a rolling pin to smash into small shards (you can make big chunks or more of a crumble mix, as you prefer!). The praline can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the fridge.

To assemble:

Top the cake with plenty of frosting and crumble the praline over the top and enjoy!

bottom of page