Date And Walnut Cake Recipe
This date and walnut cake recipe was discovered in the archives! On a visit to my parents house a few years ago now, I was to help them ‘declutter’ and to sort through some old photographs and documents. Of course I enjoyed doing it and loved to hear some stories my Mother would tell of relatives and friends from long ago as she picked through the images, captured all those years ago.
This could be the best ever recipe for date and walnut cake – from my Grandmother’s recipe book. It is really easy and delicious. Good old-fashioned baking!
Amongst the documents found was my Great Grandfathers apprenticeship contract which included clauses about him not gambling, or visting pubs or marrying during the duration of the training which lasted for 5 years. Rather different from an apprenticeship agreement today, thank goodness!!
He must have obeyed, or at least not got caught for any breaches, because he did successfully complete his instruction and went on to have his own blacksmith business.
There is also this wonderful photograph of my Grandma and my Auntie walking down the street in Scarborough – full of energy and fun! It is a picture of its time!
The old car in the background helps to date it – and the lack of traffic!
They seem to be wearing matching suits too and I do wonder where they were off to!
Old photos are quite wonderful, aren’t they? I guess it is all part of knowing who you are and where you came from. I suspect we all like to discover our links to the past every now and then
Grandma’s Handwritten Cookery Book
Perhaps the most wonderful, and unexpected thing I found, was the handwritten collection of recipes in a notebook which was my Grandmother’s. Inside the notebook as well as the carefully copied cooking instructions -(didn’t people have good handwriting 60 years ago?), were newspaper and magazine cuttings and even some awards from WI competitions.
It is a true treasure of family history and a record of the time. There are austerity recipes following the war (Mock Cream, Almond Paste without almonds – flavoured with almond essence) and traditional recipes such as malt loaf, gingerbread, brandy snaps – and Walnut and Date cake. Coconut features in quite a few recipes. I don’t know if it was used a lot in baking – or may be my Grandmother just liked coconut! There are a lot of recipes using dried fruit too.
What strikes me about the book is that the recipes are straight forward and no nonsense. This is real, normal day to day cooking, like, well, our Grandmothers did. It’s amazing that there are so many baking recipe books always being published, as if its something new! Of course there are always endless variations on recipes that people want to share and there are fashions in cooking like the present love of Cupcakes.
Recipes – A Link To The Past
These basic recipes have been around for a long time and will be repeated by my descendants. But what I did love when baking this really simple and delicious cake is the connection I felt to my Grandmother through the books and the recipes.
I had read about people feeling that before but had never really experienced it. It was strange thinking I was following an exact recipe that she had many, many years before. It made me think of her, and the time I spent with her as a child. I was lucky enough to know her well into my twenties.
As a child I remember traditional tea times with a real fire and a tea of sandwiches, ham, malt loaf and cakes – may be a date and walnut cake.
I remember staring into the fire as the adults talked and imagining other worlds – far away from this mundane scene. I don’t ever remember cooking with Grandma – I don’t think she considered herself much of a baker. This sort of cooking was just run of the mill normal in those days. See also Easy Spice Loaf for another recipe from this recipe book.
My main food memory is teatimes and going done the garden to forage some peas grown by my Granddad, with my sister. We were allowed to pick some and eat them straight from the pod – how sweet and delicious! I remember the tomatoes too – I expect that is where my love of tomatoes came from and why I value home grown or organically grown rather than some of the tasteless supermarket offerings.
Easy Date And Walnut Cake Recipe
This date and Walnut cake is so easy to make – it just takes minutes to prepare. It uses surprisingly little fat too! Whilst not the cheapest cake to make it is very tasty and has lots of goodness in. It probably costs about £3.50, depending on where you buy your dates and walnuts. It makes a tasty, wholesome addition to the lunch box or is lovely at teatime or an elevenses snack!
I made this cake in a loaf tin so to be precise it is really a Date and Walnut Loaf.
Make The Cake Vegan
Make a vegan version of this cake by substituting the egg with 1 tablespoon of milled flaxseed mixed in with 3 tablespoons of water and left to thicken. Just add at the same time as you would add the egg and proceed as normal! Of course you will nee dto make sure the fat you use is vegan too!
More Cake Recipes
Date And Walnut Cake Recipe
- 2lb loaf tin
- 250 g dates, chopped
- 125 g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 55 g butter or margarine, cut into small cubes
- 170 ml 6 fluid oz boiling water
- 1 egg beaten
- 55 g chopped walnuts
- 250 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence optional
- Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees C
- Place the dates, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and butter/margarine into a mixing bowl
- Pour the boiling water over and mix to melt the fat
- Allow to cool a little
- Add the egg
- Add the walnuts, flour and vanilla essence if using and mix to a smooth batter type consistency
- Grease and line two small or one large loaf tin
- Bake in the oven for about 75 minutes or until firm
Hello Penny, thank you for posting your grandmas date & walnut recipe. I made it today and it was delicious . Thank you! 😀 x
susan pensom says
The old recipes are always the best. thank you for posting it, its so easy to make and really takes hardly anytime and what a delicious result.Definately the best one Ive ever made. thank you Penny
can anyone give me the ingredients in cups please? i don’t have a food scale:(.
Judith Hands says
Such a good receipe, quick and easy and delicious. Thank you Penny.
Louise parker says
Oooh exciting, going to try this recipe TODAY ?
Thanks penny for the wonderful and easy recipe. Tried the recipe and it turned out good. I didn’t have self raising flour. I substituted it will f lour,baking powder and salt.
I made this loaf today. I chose the recipe because I was taken by the back story you gave about your gram. I really loved the loaf. The method clearly works, though my main difficulty was lining the loaf tin. The crust was perfect, crispy but not overdone. The load was lovely and moist. It was slightly crumbly in the middle. Any thoughts why? I will make this regularly. Even my wife, who doesn’t like fruit cakes/loaves loved it.
lorna Steadman says
I got my Loaf tin liners in Poundland. They make life so much easier and at £1 for 25 even better.
Thanks for sharing that Lorna – great tip!
Hi Penny, thank you for posting this lovely recipe – when mixing does it matter if you use an electric mixer? I know with some recipes your not supposed to mix with an electric mixer,but rather a
I think this recipe is best down with a spoon rather than an electric mixer because of all the dates and walnuts. The mixer might break them up too much. I would welcome any comments from other people on this, though – if anyone has tried it with an electric mixer
Hi Penny, this is Dee from Cape Town here. I was looking for a good date loaf recipe & yours jumped out. I will be trying it today. It looks deelicious!
I bought an expensive date and walnut cake last week. What a waste of money. My best friend is coming to lunch tomorrow and if I can persuade her to stay for tea as well hubby and I will treat her to a slice of proper D&W cake.
PS I live quite near Scarborough. That photo took me back.
Just can’t praise this enough, and neither can anyone I offer some to. It is now a monthly treat for my family and friends – I have to make 3 at a time to keep up with demand ! Never thought I would get such high praise for something I made.
The best date and walnut cake I have ever made. Lovely crispy top with a moist filling. Delicious. Thank you.
Mr mother-in-law (89 yrs old) was impressed with my offering which is praise indeed! Son 2 has already eaten most of his cake and Son 1 has demanded I make another for him and his family. I think this recipe will be adopted by our whole family. A great big Thank You!
Marilyn Hogan says
Date and Walnut cake, The first recipe I used from your site, gorgeous, hubby really enjoyed it, looking forward to using more recipes
I’ve just read your lovely blog and will bake your Grandma’s recipe this afternoon. You’ve taken me down memory lane and described exactly how I remember my own family tea times, particularly the Sunday family get together. and festive gatherings. I’ve had a tear or two as well. Thank you so much for sharing this precious recipe. xxxxx
On asking my father what he would like for his 80th Birthday next week – he replied a date and Walnut cake like the 1 you made before Christmas. It was this one ! Obviously a winner 🙂
Lovely cake. I was out last week at a local tea rooms and along with my pot of tea I ordered a slice of their date and walnut cake. It was dry and they must have thrown the dates in a mile away ( I couldn’t see or taste any ).
I came home, put my computer on and saw this recipe. I cooked it the following day, left it 2 days before eating AND………………………..I have a good mind to make another, leave it on the tea rooms doorstep with a note saying
” Eat me, then throw your so called Date and Walnut cake in the bin.”
Thank you for this recipe.
Thank you for your lovely comment – and for making me smile! Delighted you love the cake so much! I think I am going to have to go and make another one now – you have made me want a slice!
Vicky Clayton says
I have made this recipe many times. It is so easy and is a winner everytime! Many thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing your love of this recipe 🙂
Robert Muckett says
I have been looking for some time now for a date and Walnut cake recipe like my grandmother used to make.
I remember my grandmother cooking and baking all sorts on a Sunday and loved to be there we would also collect home grown vegetables and eggs from the garden I am now 61 and at last this looks like the cake I remember I cant ever remember my granny ever having a recipe book, I will be making this cake over the weekend and can’t wait to try it one bite will tell me if it is like my granny’s but I am sure it will be.
All I have to do after that is to carry on my search for her farmhouse cake which was to die for as a small boy
I do hope this cake is like your granny’s. Do let me know if it brings back memories 🙂
Gail East says
Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m going to try making it for my Dad. My Mum died suddenly last year and always made him a lovely date and walnut cake in a large loaf tin. He has so missed her cakes and this one looks just like the one she used to make.
I hope this cake evokes some good memories for you and your Dad