The No-Date Cake


Vatsala Swamy, Culture Editor

The AP Lit Bible, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, clearly explains that food is communal; it’s at the center of any significant event. Whether it’s celebrating a birthday with an inscribed cake or healing heartbreak with a pint of ice cream (when the time comes, I’ll be reaching for non-dairy cookies and cream), every major milestone is accompanied by a dish to celebrate it. 

Given the fact that my main approach to making friends or building relationships has been more through the stomach… than the heart, I clearly take advantage of food’s magnetism. As much as I excel at selling myself with quirky stories, when words fail, baked goods prevail. Not only the perfect opportunity to bring my latest food creation to fruition, baking for social gatherings is also the best subtle conversation-starter for my favorite topic: how I made that brownie taste so good

However, as much as I love using confections to gain affection when it comes time to actually make the dessert, I prefer absolute solitude in the kitchen. No, this isn’t just another episode of “Am I an Introvert or Just Lonely?” There’s something legitimately profound in a silent kitchen, unwavering focus, and at the end, a tangible, edible representation of creativity. With no one looking over my shoulder and complete control, sometimes loneliness contradicts its disparate, helpless connotation. 

This might just be my irrational fear of large friend groups speaking, but at the end of the day, spending hours finding the perfect way to tell you all the weirdly significant place this cake holds in my life is so much more fulfilling than empty conversations. So this cake, laced with rich cocoa powder and gooey chocolate chips in every bite, is the No Date Cake because if being alone is this satisfying, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. 


Chocolate Date Cake

Serves 8-10 • 60 mins



  • 20 pitted dates
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbs milk (non-dairy is fine too)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder 
  • Chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a baking pan with parchment paper. 
  2. Place dates and milk into a heatproof bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes until dates have softened. Take out, cover, and let sit for 15-20 minutes to cool down. 
  3. Blend milk and dates until no large pieces of dates remain. Add sugar and blend for a few seconds until smooth. If there are a few date pieces it is ok. 
  4. Put blended dates in a large mixing bowl and add oil and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. 
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Add in chocolate chips (how much ever your heart desires; my heart desires ⅔ cup). 
  6. Add dry ingredients to the dates in thirds and mix until well combined. The batter should be slightly thicker than pancake batter. If too thick, add 2-3 tablespoons of water. 
  7. Pour batter into the lined baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 mins. Decorate with powdered sugar, strawberries, whipped cream, or anything you wish. Enjoy!