Date and Nut Loaf Cake

Don’t be fooled by the ease and simplicity of this unassuming loaf, it has a good, soft but firm texture and is packed with flavour. It’s great for tea on the day, but even better if left for a day to “develop”.

IMGP4011 Tue 27th - Date & Nut loaf for Limelight

Servings: 10 – 12 slices        Time: 1 hr 45 min + cooling          Difficulty: quite easy

Credit: This recipe is my version of one in the excellent BBC Good Food book “101 Cakes and Bakes”


  • 200g/8 oz stoned dates *1
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g/4 oz butter, cubed
  • 280g/10 oz self-raising flour
  • 50g/2 oz chopped nuts *2
  • 100g/4 oz dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • *1 Medjool dates are the best, but also expensive. If it’s not a special occasion bake then ordinary cooking dates are fine. Also, kitchen scissors make for easy, speedy chopping.

    *2 Walnuts are ideal but, as above, if it’s for general/home consumption, the cheaper mixed chopped nuts are fine.


1. Mix the dates and bicarb soda in a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Pour 300ml/half pint of hot water over them and stir well. Leave until cold. 2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Grease a 1kg/2lb loaf tin and line the base and two long sides with baking parchment.*3 3. Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter pieces until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the nuts and muscovado sugar and stir until well combined. 4. Tip the flour mixture and the egg into the cooled dates. Beat well to thoroughly mix, then pour into the prepared loaf tin. Smooth the surface then sprinkle with demerara sugar. 5. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 – 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

*3 As shown in the above picture, I often use the pre-formed loaf tin liners. They make the faff of lining a tin redundant. Also, if making loaf cakes to give away, wrapping the finished article is much easier.