One of the most popular posts on this site is the recipe for date and walnut cake. It makes me so happy to receive regular messages from readers to say how much you’ve enjoyed making and sharing this cake.
For those of you who had read the original post, you’ll know that the recipe is one that had been in the family for years and years and one I remember enjoying throughout my childhood. We thought the recipe might have come from an old Marks and Spencers cookery book, but we were wrong. I have recently uncovered the old recipe in one of my maternal grandmothers cookery books. My mum has a small collection of her cookery books and hand written recipes, and I found the original recipe in there just a few weeks ago.
I’m amazed to say that the original recipe actually comes from the Queen Mother at Sandringham. It was apparently her favourite cake. We have family up in North Norfolk, and it would appear that my grandmother may have picked this up on a visit to Sandringham, or a relative might have done and passed it on. How exciting!
Whilst I bring you this news and thank you again for all your comments, I thought I’d bring the recipe up to date in metric for you, with a couple of tweaks, and also to update it in the new format I have over here, with printable recipes for you. I hope you continue to enjoy this recipe and to share your stories with me.
- 250g whole dates, stones removed and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 300ml boiling water
- 250g self raising flour
- Pinch sea salt
- 100g dark brown soft sugar
- 100g salted butter
- 50g walnuts, chopped
- 1 large egg, beaten
- The night before you want to make the cake, soak the dates to make them even more soft and fudgy. Place the dates, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water into a bowl, stir and set aside until you are ready to make the cake. Cover with cling film if you like. You can leave this for an hour before using if you’re pushed for time, but I really do think it makes a difference to do it the night before.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 2lb/900g loaf tin and set aside.
- To make the cake, put the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles soft breadcrumbs. I like to do this in the Magimix to save time when making this cake at home. Stir in the walnuts, then add the date mixture, liquid and all, along with the beaten egg and stir to bring the cake batter together.
- Carefully spoon into the prepared loaf tin and bake for around 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes once the cake comes out of the oven, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully, peeling off the baking paper, so that the cake does not turn soggy.