Thursday, February 14, 2013

Date and Walnut Loaf - Love me some old fashioned baking

When it comes to baking, I love old fashioned recipes. Recipes that are tried and true and have stood the test of time - there's nothing too fancy going on around here. This date and walnut loaf has been one of my favourites for a long time.  My grandmother used to make this and I'm pretty sure many of you will have eaten this at your grandmother's table. Just perfect with lashings of butter and a cup of tea!

Old fashioned baking with old fashioned simple ingredients - brown sugar, flour, egg, dates, walnuts. I always have these ingredients in my pantry so it's easy to whip up this delicious treat. And I love using my nut roll tins. There's something about a round slice of nut loaf! You can often find original tins in a second hand shop. I bought mine new many years ago for about $10 each (my tip is if you buy them, buy 2 as most nut loaf recipes make 2 loaves).

Old Fashioned Date and Walnut Loaf Recipe
60g butter
1 cup (250ml) boiling water
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped (about 180g)
1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
1 cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped walnut (60g)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (160 fan forced). 

Grease two nut tins*.

Line the lids with baking paper and stand vertically with the bottom lid on.

Combine butter and boiling water in a medium saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.

Remove from heat. Stir in dates and bicarbonate of soda and then remaining mixture. Stir until it is all a deliciously caramel mixture - it will still have the lumps of dates and walnuts but no flour lumps.

Spoon the mixture into tins (half in each) and pop on lids.

Place upright in oven (you may wish to place on a baking tray). Bake for around 50 minutes.

Cool in tin for around 5 minutes. Remove from tin and cool on wire rack.

I always serve with butter!

*Recipe notes - Before turning on your oven  make sure the shelf in your oven is at a low enough level to fit your nut loaf tin in standing vertically. To grease nut loaf tins, I melt 2 teaspoons of butter in the microwave and then use a small pastry brush to "paint" the insides of the tin. To remove the nut loaf from the tin, make sure you have given it at least 5 minutes cooling time out of the over, then remove both end lids and shake the tin gently so the loaf slides out one end. If you can't find a nut loaf tin, then this recipe works equally well in a normal loaf tin.

Serve it up on pretty, old china and bob's your uncle!

Do you love old baking recipes that have been handed down over the generations? What's your favourite?

Fiona xx


  1. Hi Fiona,
    I have never seen nut tins, would love to see a photo of them, love the look of this loaf. x

    1. hi Stacey - I'll add some photos in the morning! they are the cylindrical ling ones that have a cap each end.
      cheers fiona

    2. Stacy. You can usually purchase these tins online or some of the large kitchenware shops stock them. Bu 2 as many recipes are for 2 loaves

    3. plenty at trash and treasure

  2. Wow. That looks brilliant. I don't have a nut loaf tin, can you do this in a regular loaf tin Fiona?
    I really want to try this.
    Ness xx

  3. Hi Fiona, I also love old fashioned recipes. This looks beautiful and I'm going to try it on the weekend. Can I ask you where you got those beautiful floral plates from. They are really lovely,

  4. That looks yummy although I don't like walnuts so would just leave them out. I've seen old fashioned round loaf tins but never used one. I love the floral china you've served it on :)

    xx Karen

  5. Hi Fiona. I used to get this type of nut loaf in my school lunchbox. I loved the way it was made in a round tin. Over the years I have looked for a recipe for a loaf as good as the one I remember. I will have to try yours!
    Penny x

  6. I love to bake, and yes I just love the old recipes, I have a pile of books that contain recipes collected by my grandmother. Good old fashioned no nonsense food. This loaf reminds me of my childhood and my grandma, so Thankyou for those special memories.

  7. Searching the internet looking for a good recipe for the old nut loaf tins I have and found this. Sounds great so am going to give it a try!

  8. A lovely cake perfect for having with a cuppa ,cozy by a log fire on an Autumn evening. I couldn't find a round tin, so I used a ceramic jar with parchment paper inside. worked very well.

  9. Just made it today, I don't have a nut loaf tin so used a loaf tin and it came out perfect - very easy and it is so delicious, hard to stop at one slice, not that I did lol! thanks Fiona. Judy B x

  10. Thank you Fiona I used to make this recipe and lost it. Similar if not the same that used to be on a date packetI just love this way. My husband used to take it away with him when working. I just left out walnuts as he did not like them in it and put extra dates. I used this cake for a desert reheated in microwave and topped with custard, NOTHING LIKE THE OLD WAY!!!! Straight forward cooking. and a lot cheaper.

    1. it sounds delicious that way and yes nothing like simple home cooking.

  11. Hi Fiona, can you tell me how long they will last using a cake tin and also can you freeze them. Allan

    1. They will last like any cake but you take them out of the cake tin when it's cooked... yes it's freezable

    2. Made them many times, using three emptied asparagus cans (long/deep) from the grocery store, and cut off just one end. Use PAM baking spray to coat the inside and they just slide out perfectly. I slice them thin with my electric knife after they've cooled and put cream cheese between the thin slices. Irresistible treat.

  12. Thanks so much! I will try that. Much appreciated xx


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