This delicious holiday favorite is a dense cake packed with nuts, dates, and other dried fruit depending on your taste preferences. It was inspired by The Silver Palate’s St. Nicholas Cake, but we’ve changed it quite a bit over the years and adjusted it to fit into the Finite Foodie 8×8-inch glass baking dish.
We normally use Medjool dates, which are incredibly moist and sweet. However, you can simplify it by purchasing pitted dates, which are typically Diglet dates. There’s also no need to pay extra for walnut or pecan halves, since they will be chopped anyway–look for the less expensive pieces. The cake is held together with just a little batter, which can be made with regular, whole wheat, or gluten-free flour. Although our St. Nicholas cake is relatively expensive to make, a little goes a long way. We recommend cutting it into 16 small squares or thin slices.
Soaking the dried fruit overnight increases the flavor and texture, making a richer, moister cake. Don’t worry about the alcohol–there’s very little and it cooks off. However, orange juice is a less expensive and equally flavorful option if you prefer.