Sourdough Discard Ideas | Sourdough Recipes

Sourdough Discard Cake with Dates & Lemon Drizzle

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This simple sourdough discard cake with dates and lemon drizzle takes less than an hour to make and bake.

It uses 150g of sourdough discard and pantry staples to create a deliciously simple cake that will have everyone asking for the recipe.

If you’re looking for a sourdough discard cake that you can make again and again, you’ve found it!

This one is so easy, even the kids could make it!

Sourdough discard cake with dates and lemon drizzle

What Is A Sourdough Discard Cake?

Sourdough discard cake is basically a cake batter that utilises unfed sourdough starter to form part of the flour and liquid ingredients.

This particular sourdough discard cake uses 150g of discard plus 150g of additional flour. The leavening agent is baking powder which gives the cake some lift.

This cake is meant to be more like a slice in that it’s baked in a rectangle tin and slightly denser in texture (thanks to the discard). It has a crunchy golden outside and a soft, sweet inside.

While this is considered a sourdough discard cake, you could of course use fed and bubbly starter to make it. It actually tastes amazing! A good excuse to feed your starter a little more and increase the amount you have in the jar!

How To Make a Sourdough Discard Cake

This cake could not be easier. You can use a scale and mixing bowl for speedy preparation. There’s no need for a mixer or beaters.

It takes around 10 minutes to prepare the batter (even quicker the second time you do it!).

Here’s the basic method for making a sourdough discard cake:

  1. Preheat the oven.
  2. Chop dried dates into smaller pieces.
  3. Add all ingredients except for melted butter into a bowl.
  4. Mix to combine.
  5. Add the melted butter and stir into a thick batter.
  6. Pour batter into a lined cake tin.
  7. Bake until golden.
  8. Make the drizzling glaze and drizzle over cooled cake.

What Type of Dates to Use

You will need to use dried, pitted dates for this recipe. They are different to Medjool dates.

Medjool dates are a lot more juicy and moist. They are perfect for snacking … or filling with peanut butter!

Dried, pitted dates are sometimes referred to as “deglet noor”. They can be purchased from the supermarket, generally near the raisins and nuts in the baking section.

I have used dried, pitted dates from Aldi. They are super cheap at under $2 a packet.

These are great because they have a long shelf life, making them perfect as a “pantry staple”. You can use them in loads of different cakes, pastries, muffins etc.

These dates are a key ingredient in this Coffee & Maple Syrup Infused Date Sourdough Bread.

Pitted dates are a great dried fruit to have on hand. They’re super cheap and add great flavor, texture and sweetness to many recipes.

Baking Tips for Sourdough Discard Cake with Dates

While this cake is super easy to mix and bake, here are a few tips that will ensure you have success every time you bake it.

  • For best results, bake this cake in a tin approximately 27.5cm x 17.5cm x 3.5cm (11″ x 7″ x 1.5″). This brownie pan is perfect and is the exact measurements of the pan I’ve used for this recipe.
  • Make sure you use baking powder, not baking soda. They are actually different products.
  • While this is a sourdough discard cake, it’s recommended to not use old discard. The cake will be too sour. You want discard that’s less than one week old for the best results.
  • You can use active fed starter – in fact I often feed my starter just to make this cake! Fed, active starter will give the cake a milder flavor than using discard.
  • Make sure your sourdough discard is at room temperature, along with the other ingredients. You don’t want anything to be cold before mixing the cake ingredients.

Recipe Variations

There are a few different flavors you could change to make variations of this recipe. Here are a few things that I’ve done to make this cake different on a few occasions with great success.

  • Add the zest of an orange or lemon to the cake batter.
  • Use the juice of an orange for the drizzling glaze, instead of lemon.
  • Use raisins instead of dates.
  • Replace half the dates with chopped pecans for a crunchy twist.
  • Add a shot of espresso coffee to the mixture before baking (exclude the vanilla). You don’t want the coffee to be more than 20mls or it will change the texture of the cake.

How Long Does Sourdough Discard Cake Last?

This discard cake can be stored in a cake tin for up to 3 days. If you want to, you can warm it slightly after a few days to freshen it up (30 seconds in the microwave is good). It’s best if you just cut it as you need it to stop the cut pieces drying out.

This cake freezes well. Wrap in parchment paper, then foil or place into a ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Sourdough discard cake with dates and lemon drizzle.

What Is Sourdough Discard

In simplest terms, sourdough discard is actually just sourdough starter that is unfed. You take out a portion of starter before you feed it with fresh flour and water.

You must take out a portion of starter before feeding for the starter to thrive.

The portion which you remove is “discarded” and is generally referred to as sourdough discard. While it can just be thrown away, you can also bake a myriad of the things with it, such as this sourdough discard cake.

Other popular things to make with sourdough discard include:

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might find these links useful:

  • This sourdough glossary is super helpful to learn all the relevant sourdough terminology – including the difference between sourdough starter and sourdough discard.
  • Want to know how to boost your sourdough starter? You’ll find my top 5 tips here.
Sourdough Discard Cake with dates and lemon drizzle.

Sourdough discard cake

Sourdough Discard Cake with Dates and Lemon Drizzle

This super easy sourdough discard cake can be mixed and baked in under an hour – perfect for unexpected coffee visits or fast morning teas.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Calories 2851 kcal


  • Digital Scale
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Rectangle Cake Tin (11" x 7" x 1.5" or 27.5cm x 17.5cm x 3.5cm)


  • 150 g Sourdough Starter Discard/Unfed
  • 150 g All Purpose Flour
  • 7 g Baking Powder
  • 120 g Dates Dried, pitted and chopped
  • 200 Sugar Caster
  • 1 Egg
  • 100 g Butter Melted
  • 10 g Golden Syrup 2 teaspoons
  • 5 g Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon

Lemon Drizzle

  • 100 g Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Lemon Juice of


  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  • Chop the dried and pitted dates into smaller pieces. You can just chop them roughly, they don't have to be perfect.
  • Combine all ingredients, except the butter, into a mixing bowl and stir until combined.
  • Now pour in the melted butter and mix until a thick batter forms.
  • Line a rectangle cake tin with parchment paper and pour the cake batter into the tin. Smooth it out using a knife so that it takes up the whole tin.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown at 180C / 350F.
  • Allow to cool on a rack for around 30 minutes.
  • While the cake is cooling, mix 100g of powdered sugar with the juice of one lemon. Drizzle over cake.


I have baked this cake in a tin with these exact measurements. A brownie pan is the best choice.


Calories: 2851kcalCarbohydrates: 504gProtein: 30gFat: 88gSaturated Fat: 53gTrans Fat: 3gCholesterol: 379mgSodium: 1532mgPotassium: 1195mgFiber: 18gSugar: 336gVitamin A: 2772IUVitamin C: 58mgCalcium: 560mgIron: 11mg
Keyword Sourdough Discard
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