Date and Walnut Loaf

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Deliciously easy cake, loaded with sticky dates and sweetly-rich walnuts. Date and walnut loaf is the perfect tea time treat.

Date and Walnut Loaf recipe from Baking with Granny. How to make date and walnut loaf cake.
There’s something quite comforting about a slice of cake that’s been bakes in loaf-form. I think it’s because it reminds me of being in a quaint little coffee shop. And Date and Walnut Loaf is the the perfect accompaniment to your favourite brew.

When it comes to cake loafs, it’s no secret I’m a big fan. Whether it’s Lemon Drizzle, Golden Syrup Cake, Banana Loaf, Sultana Cake, Gingerbread…we’ve countless cake loaf recipes here at Baking with Granny.

I’ve been thinking about adding Date and Walnut Loaf to our recipe repertoire for a while now, due to it being a firm coffee shop favourite. A beautifully moist sponge base, packed with juicy dates and creamy walnuts; enjoy a thick slice with a spreading of butter, or add a little more sweetness with a generous layer of icing on top of your loaf. How could anyone resist?

Whatever your serving preference, you can be sure it will be a hit with anyone you have nipping around for a cheeky wee cuppa!

"I’m rubbish at making cakes but thought i would give this a try. WOW, absolutely lovely. Can’t believe I made it. Stayed true to recipe and it stayed lovely and moist. Given me confidence to try some more cake recipes now."
Date Walnut Cake recipe from Baking with Granny. Deliciously moist date and walnut loaf, easy to make.


Pitted Dates
Often referred to as “Mother Earths all-natural candy”…is it any wonder they are such a popular addition to baking? And of course they really make this cake what it is.

My all-time favourite nut! Just make sure your walnuts are in date – nothing will spoil a Date and Walnut loaf more than coming across a rancid walnut.

Caster Sugar
The dates add a lovely sweetness of their own but no cake would be complete without some caster sugar. You can even trying swapping to Golden Caster Sugar for a more caramel-y taste.

Butter or Margarine
Either will do and it’s personal preference to which you choose. I opt for margarine as a way to omit the dairy but whatever you choose, just be sure it’s at room temperature before baking.

Self-raising Flour
As with most cake, self-raising flour is required. But if you only have plain to hand, fear not! You can use a plain flour with the addition of some baking powder.

Bicarbonate of Soda
This alongside the self-raising flour will give your cake a little lift, creating wee bubbles in the batter and helping the Date and Walnut Loaf rise.

Free-range Egg
The traditional glue of choice in any cake batter. I don’t tend to stress to much about the size of eggs in a loaf cake, as long as they’re free-range.

Boiling Water
This is mainly to soak your dates (which will be somewhat dry) so when you bake the cake, they don’t become too chewy and retain a certain softness to them. It also acts as the moisture in the loaf too.

Granny's Top Tips

• If you fancy trying something a little bit different, why not soak your dates in your favourite kind of tea? Breakfast teas, or an Earl Grey tea are great options.

• Be sure to check the date on your walnuts before using, if you have had them for a little while. There’s nothing worse than biting into a rancid walunt!

Date & Walnut Loaf recipe from Baking with Granny. Easy home made date and walnut cake.


My Date & Walnut Loaf is burnt on top – help!
Different ovens produce different results. First, make sure your oven temperature is correct; a fan oven will need a lower temperature than a conventional oven. Next, consider the baking time; I recommend baking your loaf for “about an hour” but if your loaf is fully baked at 50 minutes, remove it from the oven. The best way to know your loaf is ready is by inserting a skewer – if it comes out clean, your cake is ready. Finally, if your only halfway through baking and your loaf is already looking dry on top, wrap a sheet of tin foil over the top; this will allow your loaf to continue baking internally, without the top burning.

Can I freeze Date and Walnut Loaf?
Absolutely! Date and Walnut Loaf is great for freezing. You can either freeze an entire loaf, or cut it into slices first; whichever you prefer. Tightly wrap your Date and Walnut Loaf cake in cling film, then again in tin foil. To defrost: remove from the freezer and allow to warm to room temperature before eating. Do not re-freeze once defrosted, and do not leave in your freezer for more than 3 months to avoid freezer-burn.

Date & Walnut Loaf recipe from Baking with Granny. Easy home made date and walnut cake.

Date and Walnut Loaf

Deliciously easy cake, loaded with sticky dates and sweetly-rich walnuts. Date and Walnut loaf is the perfect tea time treat.
4.75 from 32 votes
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10



  • Place the dates, bicarbonate of soda, margarine and sugar in a large bowl and pour over the boiling water. Mix to break up the margarine and then set aside until the boiling water has cooled.
  • Meanwhile, line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper and pre-heat your oven to 170°c (150°c for fan asssisted ovens or Gas Mark 3).
  • Once the mixture has cooled, add the egg and walnuts, mixing through to combine. Sift in the flour and mix to create a batter.
  • Transfer the batter to your pre-lined tin and bake in your pre-heated oven for about 1 hour. Keep an eye on your cake toward the end of baking and if you think it's looks done on top, cover with a sheet of tin foil - this will stop the top from burning while the inside continues to bake.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Serve straight away or for a better taste, keep the loaf in an air-tight container for a couple of days before serving.
Tried this recipe?Tag @bakingwithgranny or use the hashtag #bakingwithgranny!
Date and Walnut Loaf is perfect for:

• Community coffee mornings
• Serving in cafes
• When entertaining friends
• Afternoon teas
• Breakfast on the go

Date and Walnut loaf cake recipe from Baking with Granny.

83 Responses

    1. If I need to know calories I use an app on my phone. My fitness pal will work but I am sure there are others too. You just put ingredients and weights in the recipe tab and it will work calories per portion too. Hope that helps?

    1. Hi, every time I make a cake with either mixed fruit, cherries etc (even after I’ve chopped in half, washed, dried, rolled in flour) everything always sinks to the bottom?? Please could you help with a remedy?

      1. if you lightly flour them first before adding to the mixture, this should prevent them from sinking to the bottom. I know it works using place cherries!

      2. This is normally because your cake batter is too thin and therefore doesn’t hold the fruit suspended. Try increasing the flour a little to make the batter slightly thicker. The size of your eggs can also alter the consistency. If your using large eggs try substituting for medium. Hope this helps

      3. Its easy! Toss your cherries in flour then instead of mixing them in layer them through by putting a layer of cake mix in the tin then scatter some cherries and repeat. Works perfectly every time!

    1. Check your cake halfway through cooking. If it looks like the top is cooking too quickly cover loosely with baking foil

  1. I used this recipe instead of a tried and tested one I’ve made many times. There was less liquid in this recipe and the resulting loaf was dry. Rather disappointing.

    1. I agree. I have made this loaf twice now. Even reducing the cooking time and it still comes out dry and falls apart when cut. Very disappointed. It’s a lovely tasty loaf but just too dry. Should I increase the water??

  2. The Date and walnut loaf cake I can’t seem to find how long to bake it for and temperature on the recipe thanks Karen?

    1. Yes, I have replaced the water with freshly made tea and it works fine and adds a bit more depth of flavour

  3. 5 stars
    Made this last week, omg it’s amaaaaaazing! Tasty, moist, amd with a lovely crispy outside. Yum! Lasted 3 days. Thanks so much. Im making it again now

  4. 3 stars
    Very simple recipe and easy for a novice cake maker to follow but the cake did turn out quite dry. It has a good taste though and if it’s warmed and served with custard I’m sure it will be lovely.

    1. Hi Stephen did you bake it for the full time as stated in the recipe?
      I baked this myself yesterday and it looked as though it was browning well after about 50 minutes so I checked it with a skewer and it was done. The cake was beautifully moist. So perhaps try baking it for a shorter time.
      Hope this helps

    2. 4 stars
      I too found it a bit dry. I’m going to try making it with tea next time. It needs some more liquid. Nice taste though

  5. 5 stars
    Love this recipe, my loaves will dry in the electric oven so stand loaf tin inside roaring pan with boiling water in and looely cover with baking paper or foil stops top burning and keeps moisture in this loaf is always nice with a bit of butter or low fat spread spreader on each slice and with a nice cup of tea

    1. 5 stars
      I had some dates and walnuts that needed using so I thought I would give this cake a try.

      I doubled the ingredients and made 2 cakes. I set the timer for the time stated 1hr 15, then after reading the reviews I decreased the cooking time to about 50 minutes.

      I checked with a skewer and it appeared to be cooked, so I set it aside to cool.

      I was curious as to what it was like, so while still warm I cut into it and tried a piece.

      Omg I thought it was delicious, therefore I could not resist eating another piece.

      My family agree this tastes lovely. It was simple to make and turned out very moist.

      Looking forward to making more..

  6. 5 stars
    Hi, I made the date and walnut cake this morning and it is so moreish.
    I have a fan oven so it didn’t take as long as the time stated, I had to cover the cake with tin foil for the last 20 minutes as it would have burnt.
    Deffinatley make again.

  7. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. I’ve done it several times now & it comes out lovely, which is amazing because I don’t rate myself as a baker although I love doing it & have rekindled that love during lockdown. I’ve used golden caster sugar ( was all I could get during lockdown) but I think it maybe adds to the deliciousness. I’m unsure about how long things keep good though & would find it very helpful if there was a guide to storage ie how to & how long for. Many thanks I’m loving the website.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this last week for the first time after i overstocked on dates (don’t ask lol) I had to keep an eye on the cooking time as my oven is quite temperamental. Mine was ready after 45-50mins.
    Wow, it was so easy to make and turned out perfect (I also used the loaf tin liners). My hubby is not a huge cake fan but this was delicious buttered with a hot cuppa. Between two of us this lasted a week kept in an airtight container and was still deliciously sticky and moist when finished today. Making another two tomorrow….one for us and one for the MIL.

  9. This is my second baking with granny recipe. Both great, I tweek them to make the vegan and a great success.
    Its nice to have cakes we can all enjoy.
    The first recipe was the golden syrup cake, a firm favourite with all the family.

  10. 5 stars
    Made this date and walnut cake 3 days ago and just tried it. It’s really moist and very nice! Good recipe, I shall be making this again. Thanks

  11. Made yesterday,butter curdled with boiling water,such a shame not worth it with the cost of butter.cake is dry and the recipe needs adjustments,may as well use oil for a more moist cake,save the butter!
    Over rated.

  12. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday. Used tea to soak and cooked in a fan oven 150° for just over 40 mins. It’s lovely and not dry and cuts easily. Will make again. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. 5 stars
      I added more boiling water than stated in recipe and in fan assisted oven it only took 35 mins. Very moist and good. Family loved it

  13. Made this yesterday. Used tea to soak and cooked in a fan oven 150° for just over 40 mins. It’s lovely and not dry and cuts easily. Will make again. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Made this yesterday. Used tea to soak and cooked in a fan oven 150° for just over 40 mins. It’s lovely and not dry and cuts easily. Will make again. Thanks for the recipe.

  15. 5 stars
    2nd time in one of month I made this recipe. I made it with tea first time I made it. Second time, just water. I prepared it differently. Soaked dates in liquid.. I don’t have a stand or hand mixer. Used only fork. Combined self-rising flour and bicarbonate of soda in one bowl, sugar and butter in another. After sugar and butter are well combined, I add it to the bowl with self-rising flour and bicarbonate of soda, give it good mix until well combined. Then I add the beaten egg, the dates soaked in 180ml of liquid, and then the walnuts. Mix well making sure dry and liquid ingredients are well combined. I bake it for the recommended time, maybe even longer, covering the pan with foil towards the end to avoid burning the top of the loaf.

  16. The second time this load came out a lot more crumblier. I did it exactly the same as the first time and it was perfect then. Any suggestions please? I only cooked it for 45 minutes as it was done.

  17. Terrible, the liquid content is far too little, it was by no means a batter. It’s more of a rock cake dough

  18. i had a recipe i tried but it wasnt successful , maybe ive missed some of the ingredients , 12 oz plain flour 6 oz butter 6oz sugar 6oz dates and walnuts half pint apple puree 1 tsp cinnamon 1tsp bicarb in 3 tbs milk , wasnt sure if it was sugar or demerara but went for sugar, it did not turn out like the one i tried from the person , i will try yours as it looks good but any help with mine ?, im not really a baker much but any help is appreciated , thanks , dates i used were chopped and didnt look the way i remember

  19. 4 stars
    Very tasty but mine also dry. Cooked for 75mins in a fan oven as per recipe. Will try shorter next time.

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve made it a few times and have one in the oven at the moment. I use a little extra boiling water and about a table spoon of honey, after an hour I put some tin foil on top and cook for exact time. Comes out delicious and moist. My husband’s favourite now.

  20. I have a friend who is a wonderful baker, to professional standards. I have repeatedly used this recipe and he says it’s the best walnut and date loaf recipe. It is also easy to make. We all love it!

  21. The recipe is fine but the cook time is way to long. After only an hour at 150 conventional not fan mine was burnt. Live and learn.

  22. Hi, my dad loves date and walnut loaves but he likes beetroot added in to it to make it moist – can you advise how much beetroot I should use please? Thanks! :-)

  23. I’ve just made this cake for the second time. The first time, instead of water, I used strong Yorkshire tea to soak the ingredients; this time, I’ve used strong instant coffee. On both occasions, the end result has been perfect… the smell, the texture, and the taste. The first cake lasted (two of us) 5 days… the taste got even better but the texture slightly drier. For anyone who doesn’t like it drier, cut a thick chunk and put in the microwave with some custard. I baked in a fan oven for between 50 and 60 minutes at 150c – I would suggest checking after 50 minutes and cover with foil if it needs a bit longer. I think this recipe would make a great alternative to traditional Christmas cake. I am definitely going to try some of the other recipes on this site.

  24. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I´ve made it three times now using glass fluted bundt cake pan and it is amazing. The only thing i changed is that i omitted sugar and added couple of spoonfuls home-made vegan nutella to the batter.

  25. My great aunt used to put treacle in hers but I can’t find the recipe. Saw it the other day must have put it somewhere safe!!!if I find it I’ll let you know. My memory of her cake lingers on. I’m 60 and still remember it vividly.

  26. 5 stars
    Great reciipe. Thanks. I liked the idea of soaking the dates first. It made a big difference to the cake.
    I particularly enjoyed the presenation of this recipe, with well written explanations followed by a one-page printable text. I printed it, have filed it with my cake recipes and will definitely use it again.

  27. 3 stars
    Having read all the comments I too decided to add more water, 160ml rather than 120ml, it did the trick, it came out perfect, not crumbly or dry, fan oven at 150 it took about 40/50 minutes, put foil over it for the last 15 minutes

  28. 5 stars
    Great recipe, I read all comments saying it came out dry so I added a little bit of yogurt and one more egg, and also a drop or two of whiskey as someone recommended, it turned out deliciously moist and tasty!

  29. 5 stars
    I’m rubbish at making cakes but thought i would give this a try. WOW absolutely lovely. Can’t believe i made it. Stayed true to recipe and it stayed lovely and moist. Given me confidence to try some more cake recipes now.

  30. 5 stars
    I cannot make a cake……. until now! So proud of myself. Absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe. I can’t wait to try some more.

  31. 5 stars
    Very tasty cake, I would add a few more walnuts next time. After reading other reviews about dryness I added a teaspoon of oil to mix. Wad definitely not dry.

    1. An ounce is 28.4 grams. You can usually use 30g as a good approximation, although it will mean you cakes are slightly smaller.

      Similarly 28.4ml is 1 fluid ounce and you can use the same approximation of 30.

      Some examples:

      For 120g use 4 oz.

      For 150ml use 5 fl.oz.

  32. 4 stars
    The taste was delicious but I think the recipe needs some work. After reading some of the comments I increased the liquid to 160 ml and baked for 50 mins. It was perfectly cooked – not dry at all. The cake didn’t rise much. Unfortunately it fell into crumbs when I cut it. I had taken it to my Craft group so was quite embarassed that we had to eat it with a spoon.

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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