Date and Walnut Cake

This old-fashioned favourite is proof that you don't need to invent new recipes in order to eat healthily. Despite being very low in fat it has a lovely light, moist texture, thanks to the dried dates, and makes a pleasant alternative to a conventional fruit cake.

Date and Walnut Cake


  • 1 cup (180 g) pitted dried dates, chopped
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
  • 3⁄4 cup (140 g) lightly packed soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (300 g) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (125 g) walnuts, chopped


  1. Place the dates in a bowl with the butter and bicarbonate of soda. Pour over the boiling water and stir until the butter has melted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease an 18 cm-round deep cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
  3. Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat well to combine. Add the cooled date mixture, then sift in the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt. Add the walnuts and stir together until thoroughly mixed. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
  4. Bake for 1–1 1/4 hours, or until the cake is risen and nicely browned and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  5. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool. The cake can be kept, wrapped in foil or stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.

Serves: 10
Preparation: 20 minutes, plus soaking
Cooking: about 1 1/4 hours

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