Date and walnut cake sliced with dates around it

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This date and walnut cake is the perfect coffee break treat. Rich, sweet and moist, this loaf cake is not only delicious, but it’s really easy to make too! Enjoy it with your favourite brew, or eat it warm with a generous dollop of ice cream for dessert.

What is it?

Date and walnut loaf cake is popular across the UK. However, I can’t find anything that unequivocally declares that it originates from the UK since the typical climate in the UK means that dates certainly do not.

It’s sweet, rich and delicious and perfect for a mid-afternoon coffee break. You can also eat it warm as a dessert with ice cream, custard or cream!

How long does it keep?

The cake will keep for up to 4 days in a sealed container at room temperature. You can extend that by 3-4 days by keeping it in the fridge. You can also freeze the cake, although the texture may not be as good after thawing.

Date and walnut cake sliced on a board

What kind of dates should I use?

There are literally hundreds of different types of dates. They are also a superfood, delivering a high amount of potassium and magnesium whilst also containing antioxidants and a good dose of fibre.

You can use most varieties of dates for this cake. The recipe also includes a step to soak the dates to hydrate them, so even drier varieties will work well.

If you have a choice of dates then the best varieties to go for are Medjool (top choice) or Deglet Nour (runner up). These are super sweet, melt-in-your-mouth varieties that are extremely luxurious. If you buy one of these types of dates fresh then you don’t need to soak them for too long either as they are irresistibly soft and smooth anyway.

How do I know when it is done?

There are a few ways to know when your cake is done:

  1. Observe the cake: It should look golden brown and dry on top
  2. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake. If it’s done then it should come out clean when removed and not have any bits of batter stuck to it.
  3. Gently press the top of the cake – it should be soft but spring back and not leave an indentation where you pressed.
  4. Use a kitchen thermometer. Insert this into the middle of the cake and it should be 100C/210F.

Ingredients

For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card:

Date and walnut cake ingredients
  • Dates, stone removed and roughly chopped (see above for ideal dates to use, although any of the standard varieties will work)
  • Bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • Unsalted butter
  • Soft brown sugar
  • Egg
  • Plain flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Baking powder
  • Walnuts, deshelled and roughly chopped

Equipment:

For the default recipe (around 6 slices) you’ll need a loaf tin around 22x10cm / 8.6x4in. This one from Amazon is ideal. If you want to make a larger loaf simply scale up the recipe and tin size.

How to make it

For more detailed instructions with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe Steps
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Place the dates in boiling water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda/baking soda to soften.
  3. Mix together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale.
  4. Add the egg to the butter mixture and combine.
  5. Mix together the flour, baking powder and sugar with a pinch of salt.
  6. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine fully before adding the remaining flour and mixing together.
  7. Line a loaf tin with baking/parchment paper. Spoon the cake batter into the tin.
  8. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes (see notes above on how to know if the cake is done).
  9. Leave the cake until cool enough to handle and then remove from the tin and transfer to a wire rack until fully cooled.

Looking for more great cake recipes? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

Carbon Steel Small Loaf Tin

– Measures 21 x 11 x 7cm / 28.2 x 4.3 x 2.8in – Non stick – Budget friendly!

Set of 3 Emma Bridgewater Cake Storage Tins

Airtight metal tins, perfect for storing cakes or biscuits! 25 x 14.5cm / 9.8 x 5.7in 22.5 x 12cm / 8.8 x 4.7in 20 x 9.5cm / 7.9 x 3.7in

Hand Mixer with Beaters, Whisk and Dough Hooks

– 5 speed settings – Built-in storage – Stainless steel attachments
Print
Date and walnut cake sliced with dates around it

Date and Walnut Cake


  • Author: caroline
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This date and walnut cake is the perfect coffee break treat. Rich, sweet and moist, this loaf cake is not only delicious, but it’s really easy to make too!

The default recipe makes around 6 slices. 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 100g/ 3.5oz / 1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates (see note 1)
  • 120ml / 1/2 cup boiling water
  • pinch bicarbonate of soda / baking soda
  • 40g / 1.5oz unsalted butter
  • 70g / 2.5oz soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 125g / 4.5oz plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g / 1.75oz / 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Equipment:

For the default recipe (around 6 slices) you’ll need a loaf tin around 22x10cm / 8.6x4in. This one from Amazon is ideal. If you want to make a larger loaf simply scale up the recipe and tin size.


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F.
  2. Place the dates in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Add the pinch of the bicarbonate of soda and stir together. Leave to soften for around 20 minutes
  3. Cream together the butter and the sugar. You can use a hand mixer for around 2 minutes, or mix with a wooden spoon for around 3-4 minutes until you have an even fluffy mixture. 
  4. Add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture and mix together. 
  5. Mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Then add half of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix together until fully combined and then add the remaining flour mix and combine. 
  6. Add the walnuts and the dates (you can include the water from the dates, you don’t need to drain. Mix until everything is combined. 
  7. Line the sides of a loaf tin with baking or parchment paper and spoon in the mixture. Use a knife to spread the top of the mixture evenly and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. (see note 2)
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and then leave for a few minutes until cooled enough to handle. Gently remove the cake from the tin and transfer it to a wire rack until fully cooled. 

Notes

  1. The best dates to use are medjool or Deglet Nour as they are incredibly smooth and caramel-like. However, just about any regular type of date will work. 
  2. The cake is done when it is springy on top and if gently pressed the surface springs back rather than leaving an indentation. You can also place a wooden skewer into the centre and if it comes out clean of any batter on it the cake is ready. 
  3. The loaf will keep for up to 4 days in a sealed container at room temperature. If kept in the fridge this can be extended up to 7 days. 
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: British

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 290
  • Fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Protein: 5g

Keywords: cake, loaf, walnut, dates, sweet, dessert

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