Date, carrot and cranberry loaf

This loaf uses dates as the main natural sweetener (instead of sugar), and packs in extra goodness with grated carrot and cranberries.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Dessert, Snacks and Sides
Servings 8
Calories 292 kcal
Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly


  • 1 cup dried dates
  • ½ cup water
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • 50 g butter or coconut oil
  • cup pure maple syrup or liquid honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 large very ripe banana mashed
  • 2 cups carrots loosely packed grated about 2 carrots
  • 1 free-range egg lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries chopped
  • cups flour standard, gluten-free, buckwheat, spelt or wholemeal wheat
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice


  • Preheat oven to 170degC.
  • Place dates and water in a medium-sized pot and boil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the dates are all mushed up and the water has evaporated. Add baking soda and mix well – it will froth up a bit.
  • Mix in butter/coconut oil, maple syrup/honey and vanilla. Then mix in mashed banana, carrot, egg and cranberries until well combined.
  • Sift flour and mixed spice into the pot, and fold the two mixtures together using a large metal spoon until well combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  • Spoon batter into a loaf tin lined with baking paper and roughly smooth out the top. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out. The loaf will stay fresh for a few days, or freeze slices in an airtight container to keep for longer.


Served warm with a smear of butter and a cup of tea, afternoon tea doesn’t get much better than this! It freezes well, so make a couple of loaves and pop in the freezer for lunch boxes, if you can resist eating it all straight away. You can make this loaf gluten-free by using buckwheat flour or standard gluten-free flour, and if you want to make it dairy-free use coconut oil instead of butter. This is also a great gift for people I’ve found – everyone loves it.