Breakfast/ Desserts & Sweets/ Recipes

Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi (Finger Millet) And Date Cake

Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi (Finger Millet) And Date Cake /

“Mom it tastes like Christmas”, said my 15-year-old taking his first bite of the millet cake. My experiments with millet recipes haven’t always been received with the same enthusiasm. Happily and hopefully, all that is about to change with this cake. I’m inclined more and more to bake with gluten-free flours, always seeking recipes where millet, nut and other healthier flours can replace regular flour. Many a millet recipe has gotten me excited, often ending in mediocre to disastrous  results, but this one I can definitely put on my encore list.  

In India, millets like foxtail (kanganee), finger millet (ragi or naachni), pearl millet (bajra), barnyard millet (sama ka chawal), sorghum (jowar) and many others were traditionally consumed as porridge, unleavened, rustic rotis, or simply cooked down to a thick polenta-like consistency and eaten with a vegetable-based curry. As hardy plants that could survive vagaries of the weather and water shortage, millets have sustained generations especially in labour-intensive farming communities. That probably explains why they were perceived as being the poor man’s food.

Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi (Finger Millet) And Date Cake / millet recipe /

As with all developing societies, with progress, we moved away from these humble staples to a more ‘civilised diet’ of wheat and rice. But we’ve come full circle now. The modern way of life saw an alarming rise in lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart ailments. So now, we are looking for healthier sources of nutrition. In the process we are rediscovering our food heritage and millets are slowly but surely making a comeback with nutritionists and cooks trying new millet recipes.

Finger millet or ragi resembles the mustard seed and is sold in grain and flour form. It is eaten extensively in parts of southern and western India and is even used as a weaning food for babies. My cake-loving teenager was weaned with copious amounts of finger-millet porridge and processed baby food wasn’t missed one bit. It is a low G I food that great for building bone health, has anti-aging properties, is dense in calcium and iron, helps metabolism being fibre-rich and is known to help with depression and insomnia.

Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi (Finger Millet) And Date Cake / 

Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi (Finger Millet) And Date Cake /

So yes, it is very very good for you. You should  eat this cake for all this and not in the least because this millet recipe makes a moist, delicious cake. I ate a big slice everyday for a week for breakfast and now that it has gone, I can’t wait to bake the next one. Plus, it just feels so good to eat cake for breakfast a la Marie of the ”Let them eat cake”, fame. Healthy decadence is a delicious oxymoron.

I adapted the recipe from Food52 by making it gluten-free and tweaking the quantities and a few ingredients.  This millet recipe is as much about the millet as it is about dates. Fat, soft and sweet, the dates render the texture to that of wet earth. Imagine sinking your fingers into freshly rained-on dark soil, heavy with moisture and heady fragrance. Cinnamon resonates through the cake and shards of walnuts speckle its dense landscape.

Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi (Finger Millet) And Date Cake / millet recipe /

It is a gluten-free finger millet cake so it needed a binder, something to hold it all together. Oatmeal and powdered flax seeds are plenty sticky to be the cement that gives structure to the cake. And since we are doing healthy, both ingredients only enhance the nutrition quotient. The dates soaked in hot water, flax and coconut oil in this millet recipe make for a wet batter that need to be baked gently for a little longer than you would a regular cake. Don’t crank up the heat to rush the cake because this will only burn the outside leaving the core looking like undercooked gloop. It should feel like well-watered, moist soil rather than water-logged slush. Be patient, read a book, sip a glass or two of wine and let the cake come along at its own pace. Other than that, this is a straightforward recipe that you can depend on to deliver, every time you’re in the mood for cake at breakfast.

Eggless Gluten-Free Ragi (Finger Millet) And Date cake

Quiche 'n' Tell
A health cake bursting with the goodness of finger millet, oats,dates and walnuts.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6


  • 300 g dates seeded and chopped
  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 100 g oatmeal
  • 120 g ragi or finger millet flour
  • 150 g brown sugar
  • 50 g walnuts chopped
  • 2 tbsps flax seeds roughly powdered and soaked in 5 tbsps warm water
  • 2 tsp soda bicarbonate
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 65 ml milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 100 ml coconut oil melted


  • Preheat the oven to 176℃ and lightly spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Soak the chopped dates in the boiling water while you mix the other ingredients.
  • Whisk together the flours, salt, cinnamon powder and sugar in a bowl.
  • In another bowl vigorously whisk the milk and vinegar till it’s frothy and topped with bubbles.
  • Now add the coconut oil and flaxseed mixture and combine.
  • Gently fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients taking care not to overmix.
  • Drain the dates and mix into the batter along with the walnuts.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake 55-60 minutes till you get a clean toothpick. Cover the top with foil if you feel it is browning too quickly.
  • Gently, turn out the cake on a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.


Adapted from Food 52

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  • Reply
    June 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Ye cake receipe is interesting I want to give a try can we bake this in cooker

    • Reply
      June 16, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Rajshri,
      I’m not sure whether this recipe will work in the cooker. I think pressure cooker cakes have specific recipes.

  • Reply
    November 6, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Awesome recipe. I followed it almost exactly, and it gave me 12 cupcakes. The things that I changed: I skipped milk and sugar in my recipe as I wanted it to be lactose free and I like it less sweet. I kept the date water (which was supposed to be removed according to the recipe). I didn’t have walnuts, but I am sure that would add to the recipe. Instead of coconut oil (which again I did not have), I added 3 tbsp of ghee. Everything else is exactly as suggested in the recipe. And it tasted awesome!! Thank you.

    • Reply
      November 8, 2017 at 9:57 am

      You’r most welcome Deepti. And it’s great that you could make your substitutions work. Truly appreciate the feedback.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2018 at 3:32 am

    Hi can we substitute flax seeds with applesauce if yes pls mention quantity .

    • Reply
      February 13, 2018 at 3:52 am

      And please covert grams measurement to cups

      • Reply
        February 15, 2018 at 8:44 pm

        I choose to use metric measurements because cup measurements in different countries hold different amounts and it’s easy to go wrong. But if you prefer using cup measurements, try the weight conversion chart on the King Arthur Flour website. Hope you find it helpful. I use it for all my conversion calculations.

    • Reply
      February 15, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      Hi Dia,

      The flax seeds help to bind the cake in the absence of eggs. Not sure applesauce will do the same.

      • Reply
        February 16, 2018 at 2:46 am

        Thanks a lot for replying …can we substitute Apple cider vinegar with normal vinegar or lemon juice …thanks

  • Reply
    Rajni Nair
    March 21, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Tried it out first time and has come out absolutely perfect. Thank you.

    • Reply
      March 22, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      Hi Rajni,
      So happy to hear that it turned out good :-D.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Lovely recipe! What is the shelf life of this cake? pls let me know

    • Reply
      June 10, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      I would think 5-6 days in a dry and cool climate. I put it in the fridge after the first day since I live in hot and humid weather.

    • Reply
      June 10, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      It’ll keep for 5-6 days in cool, dry weather. It’s hot and humid where I live so I prefer to keep it in the fridge after the first day or two.

  • Reply
    Alonna Smith
    June 27, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Hi Rajni,

    I live in the US where there only seems to be one kind of millet readily available. Are the various varieties of millet interchangeable?


    • Reply
      July 3, 2018 at 11:13 am

      Hi Alonna,
      I’m Supriya :-D. To be honest I haven’t tried this cake with any other millet but I think you can safely experiment with the millet you have at hand. The key I think is the amount of moisture that millets need; some needing more than others. My suggestion is to follow your instinct and increase/decrease the liquid as you require. I’m fairly certain that the result will not be a disaster. let me know how your fare.

  • Reply
    Archita Rastogi
    June 27, 2019 at 11:00 am

    5 stars
    The total weight of dates mentioned in recipe is with seed or without seeds. Kindly confirm.

    • Reply
      August 14, 2019 at 6:55 pm

      Without seeds Archana

  • Reply
    Disha gupta
    July 9, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    5 stars
    Hello mam ! I tried this recipe.. I forgot to note tat you have mentioned oatmeal Nd I added oats directly. The slices aren’t sturdy Nd keep breaking off. So what exactly do you mean by oatmeal here? Oats soaked in water or oats grounded? It tastes amazing. Just this little glitch Thank you

    • Reply
      August 14, 2019 at 6:56 pm

      Dry ground oats Disha.

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