Vegan Lumberjack Cake (Apple and Dates Cake)

August 8, 2021 (Last Updated: August 9, 2021)

Meet this beautiful, old-fashioned lumberjack cake that is so rich, moist and loaded with apple, dates and studded with coconut doused in maple syrup! This will truly be no other cake you have tried, it is almost pudding like yet light to bite. It is hands down my most favourite bake of 2021 ( yet!)

I came across this cake in a old Coles ( or was it Woolies) magazine sometime in the April last year. I’d taken a break from work and was shuffling through all my collected editions of these magazines and this stunning image of a cake with shredded coconut caught my eye. It truly looked like shredded wood – which is perhaps why this is called a Lumberjack cake!

A few weeks later, we were on a road trip to South NSW and I saw this slice sitting pretty at the counter in a cafe. So like any decent adult, I got myself a slice. It was SO DAMN delicious – all things I love, the moist dates, the sweet apples, the flavour of maple syrup and the caramelised coconut bits.

look at that caramelised coconut topping!

What are the ingredients for this Vegan Lumberjack Cake?

This cake comes together quickly, it feels like a long list of ingredients and may take a trip to the supermarket but it is well worth it. To make this cake, you will need

  • Flour – I used all purpose flour and whole wheat flour in this recipe. A gluten free baking blend would work as well.
  • Maple Syrup – this cake requires it, else it wouldn’t be a maple cake! However, I know this is not easily accessible or affordable in India. So the next best substitute next would be coconut sugar. The cake is originally made with brown sugar however I think coconut sugar would work better. If you have honey, you can use it in the topping.
  • Oil – I used a light olive oil in this recipe, but a neutral vegetable oil would work just as fine
  • Dates – Any kind of pitted dates would work. You do not have to buy the expensive ones as we will be soaking the dates to moisten it before adding to the batter. If you have access to Medjool dates, then do not use them for this recipe. Instead, make my Vegan, Gluten Free No Bake Brownies where the dates are the star!
  • Apples – buy firm sweet apples and use them when fresh.
  • Shredded Coconut – It is really important to use ‘shredded’ coconut and not dessicated coconut because dessicated ones will soak up moisture and not look as pretty! In India, these are sold as coconut flakes on Amazon.
  • Chia Seeds – this is how we substitute the egg in this recipe. I have provided below on how to use it.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – this helps to lift the cake and give it a body, but the flavour is not at all visible in the cake so don’t worry!
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5 from 1 vote

Vegan Lumberjack Cake ( Apple and Dates Cake)

This old-fashioned lumberjack cake is rich, moist and loaded with apple, dates and studded with coconut doused in maple syrup and it is vegan!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Australian
Keyword apple and dates cake, cake, lumberjack cake, vegan baking, vegan cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes


Set A – Dates Apple Mix

  • 2 large apple grated with skin
  • 12 large dates pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup hot boiling water

Set B – Wet Ingredients

  • ¾ cup neutral oil like vegetable oil or a light olive oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds or flax seeds ground and mixed with 3 tbsp water (see instructions below)

Set C – Dry Ingredients +ACV

  • 1 and ¾ cup flour I used 1 cup plain flour ( maida ) and ¾ cup whole wheat flour ( atta).
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Set D – Topping

  • cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup milk of choice can use dairy milk or vegan milk. I used oat milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 180C, grease,line a loaf tin ( or a 8 inch round tin) and set aside.

Egg Substitute

  • To make this, take 1 tbsp of ground chia seeds or flax seeds ( grind in a mixie) and add 3 tbsp of water and set aside. The purpose of this is to act as a binder in this cake.

Making the cake

  • Add chopped dates, grated apples, baking soda and hot water to a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, add the oil, chia egg, maple syrup and vanilla essence and mix well.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.
  • Now, add 1 tsp ACV and mix it in lightly. The batter will slightly pale but that is all good. Remember not to overmix and use a light hand.
  • Bake the cake for 35 minutes.

Making the topping

  • To a saucepan, add the maple syrup, milk, coconut and vanilla essence and stir until it simmers lightly. It will become a delicious smelling mixture and blend well.

Adding topping to the cake

  • After 35 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and pour topping over the cake.
  • Bake the cake again for 15 minutes.


  • If the coconut starts to brown quickly, cover with a aluminium foil and bake. 
  • The chia egg acts as a binder and the ACV provides a mild lift and crumb to this cake.   If you are okay to use egg, you can add ONE egg in this recipe.  I have tried the cake with both a chicken egg and a chia egg – there is no difference in texture but yes, the egg is a easy add if you can use one. 
  • The flavour of maple syrup is wonderful in this cake. However, it can be substituted with coconut sugar or brown sugar. I highly recommend using maple syrup if you have access to it. I have not tried this cake with honey or any other liquid sweetener in the cake. The topping can be made using honey.
  • The cake is not very sweet on its own without the topping. If you plan to make the cake without the topping ( and yes, you can), then you may need to add 1/4 cup more of sweetner to the cake.  It will still be a delicious apple and dates cake. 

Like a lot of my baking, I adapted this recipe from several sources – this highly reviewed recipe on Best Recipes website, the vegan version at Minimalist Vegan, using maple syrup ( genius!) from Gather and Feast and for veganising the recipe, I followed the same tips from my Vegan One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about your preferences and will help other readers.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    August 20, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    5 stars
    Nice soft and spongy cake.. Made it without topping, like a loaf cake and tastes yummmmmmmm

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