Ramadan recipes: Joudie Kalla’s banana and Medjool date cake

Sticky deliciousness: Kalla’s cake (Ria Osbourne)
Sticky deliciousness: Kalla’s cake (Ria Osbourne)

Taken from her first of her two cookbooks, Palestine on a Plate, here Palestinian-British chef Joudie Kalla offers a recipe for breaking the fast. Kalla makes use of Medjool dates, which are a traditional snack – and gift – eaten after sunset, favoured as they are naturally high in sugar and carbohydrates, and offer the body a potent boost of energy. They’re also delicious; chewy and soft, tasting of caramel and cinnamon. Kalla calls Medjools “fudgey and sticky, just the way dates should be.”

While beautiful on their own, Medjools are often baked into dishes, as Kalla has done. Hers come from Zaytoun, where she is chef-partner; the group specialises in ethically-sourced ingredients from Palestine and is best known for its olive oil, which helps support farmers in the region.

The cake itself is “gooey, sticky and sweet,” Kalla says, who recommends having a slice “with a cup of Turkish coffee, sitting in the garden and dreaming of warmer climates”.

The recipe itself is flexible – add the dates according to taste – while dark chocolate is best for those who don’t like things too sweet.

Banana and Medjool date cake

Serves: 8–10

Cooking time: 90 minutes


  • 300g salted butter, softened

  • 300g golden caster sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 3 bananas, plus 1 sliced for decoration

  • 9–12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

  • 100g milk or dark chocolate, broken into pieces

  • 350g self-raising flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (180°C/350°F/Gas 4) and line a 27cm round baking tin with baking parchment.

  • Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and light. Add the eggs and beat again until well combined.

  • Peel and mash the bananas in a bowl until just smooth with a few chunks. Add to the cake mix with the dates and chocolate and fold in gently, being careful not to overwork. Fold in the flour and baking powder.

  • Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the sliced banana on top for decoration.

  • Bake for 60–70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

  • Leave it to cool, then serve with tea or coffee. The cake will keep for a day or two in an airtight container.