Date and Walnut Cake, a traditional British sweet bread that goes wonderfully well with a nice cup of tea. The loaf has a dense texture, and a good crunch from the walnuts, while the dates and golden syrup add a delicate sweetness that is hard to beat. A great addition to your afternoon tea party, this cake is sheer pleasure.
I have been given this recipe by a lovely lady who has baked the walnut and date cake for many many years. Don't you feel privileged when you are trusted with a family recipe that has been passed on for generations? I certainly do, and the fact that it turned out so well is testament to the fact that good recipes are timeless.
This cake or loaf, whatever you choose to call it, is so easy to make, and bonus point, everything can be mixed in one single bowl. Given that I tend to be so messy in the kitchen, I love it when I only have a little bit to clean after. It has to bake for about an hour, but the wait it so worth it!
And it's definitely on my to-bake list again, especially now that summer is here, and afternoon tea parties will happen more and more often. And if you like a good cuppa, I can promise you that this yummy cake goes down a treat with it every single time.
You can also spread some butter over, for a fantastic breakfast or brunch too. Nothing stops us from having it any time of the day. Let's see how to make it!
- flour - I used self-raising flour, but plain flour can be used as long as there is an raising agent added
- butter - I quite like using salted butter as it ads a bit of a kick to it
- golden syrup - it can be replaced with honey if needed
- dates - any kind. chopped
- walnuts - chopped
- sugar - caster or granulated
- milk - I prefer full-fat milk
- egg - at room temperature
Step-by-step photos and instructions
- start by rubbing the flour with the cold butter until it resembles breadcrumbs
- add the sugar, and mix well
- now you can add the golden syrup, chopped walnuts and dates, beaten egg and milk
- combine all ingredients to get a thick batter
- butter and flour a loaf tin, transfer the batter and bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) for about 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
I was a bit nervous about baking the cake, since the the amount of ingredients were written in the old Imperial system, rather than the metric system which my brain works with only. For the life of me, I can't possibly think in anything than grams and litres (and cups), but the conversion was successful, and the loaf a real treat.
Now this recipe is absolutely amazing, there is no doubt about that. But the beauty with homemade baking is that you can be so flexible with the ingredients added, and using this cake as a base, you can make it your own by adding anything else you have around.
No walnuts? Add any other nuts you have: pistachios, peanuts, pecans, you name it. No dates? Raisins, currants, prunes, apricots or any other dried fruit will work a treat too.
I quite like the sweetness it has, but nothing stops you from making it even more fragrant by adding vanilla, orange, almond or lemon extract, or lemon and orange zest too. Golden syrup can be replaced with honey.
Chocolate chips anyone? I am sure they works wonderfully well too, so do not feel like the recipe has to be followed exactly as it is. As long as the amount of flour, butter, egg and milk are the same, the rest can be customised the way you like it.
The original recipe called for margarine instead of butter, but since I don't bake with margarine, the swap was needed.
Not sure if there is any difference in texture if you use margarine, I suspect it's indeed a tad lighter, but I am very pleased with the cake, so I can say that butter works really well too.
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Date and Walnut Cake
- 225 g self-raising flour
- 60 g butter
- 60 g sugar
- 120 g chopped walnuts
- 120 g chopped dates
- 90 ml golden syrup
- 90 ml milk
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).
- Sift the flour and add it to a large bowl.
- Cut the cold butter into cubes, and use your fingertips to rub it with the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar and mix well.
- Add the chopped walnuts and dates, syrup, milk and the egg beaten well.
- Combine everything together to get a thick batter.
- Flour and grease a loaf tin, and transfer the batter over.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Click on the US Customary link to see the measurements displayed in cups and ounces.
- The servings can be adjusted by clicking the number next to Servings.