Monday, 9 November 2015

Date and Walnut Cake - Queen Mother's Recipe

This cake featured in my first cookbook "Kate's Puddings, the Cookbook of the Blog" (still available - £ 14.50 plus postage  and is an enduring favourite.  It  was passed on with the proviso that, when you got the recipe, you made a donation to charity, so please be generous!   It is unusual in that it contains no eggs, so is perfect not only if you’ve run out of eggs, but also for an egg-allergic friend of my son’s.   It got Mat’s seal of approval, especially the fudge top!   I’ve also made this as individual cupcakes.   The fudge top is the perfect foil for the date and walnut below.   To be honest, I've not tried it with gluten-free flour, or dairy-free as the fudge top wouldn't be the same....

Date and Walnut Cake with Fudge Icing
Queen Mother’s Date and Walnut Cake with Fudge Icing

4oz/110g chopped dates
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
6floz/170ml boiling water
6oz/160g plain flour
2oz/50g butter at room temperature
6oz/160g dark brown sugar
2oz/50g chopped walnuts (you can omit these)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C and line an 8” cake tin with parchment.  Pour the boiling water over the dates and bicarbonate of soda and leave them to bubble while you mix the rest of the cake.  Beat the butter into the flour, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Finally add the dates, mix everything together and pour it into the tin.  Cook for about 25 minutes until a (warmed) knife stuck into the cake comes out clean.  Cool completely before making the icing. 

5 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cream

In a pan, melt the butter, sugar and cream together, stirring, then boil for 3 minutes.  Allow it to cool slightly, then beat it until it has thickened and pour over the cake.  This is the interesting part – too soon and it doesn’t set, too late and you get fudge!   Decorate with walnuts. 


  1. "beat butter into flour" is this a typo? Should it be "beat butter into sugar"?

  2. The now ubiquitous sticky toffee pudding is actually very, very similar to the Queen Mother's favorite cake. You have to give some money to charity every time you pass on the recipe. Think how much money that would generate with sticky toffee pudding recipes

  3. I agree, just that sticky toffee has eggs and coffee. I'm trying to work out how to make sticky toffee traybake with icing, and modelling it on this icing is probably the way forward.