Date and Walnut Cake to Feed a Crowd

May 15, 2020

A moist, rich cake with glorious coffee icing

Sometimes when you taste a cake you just have to have the recipe.  For one of my followers Kirsty and her mum, who were working in the shearing sheds at the time – this was the case.  

The farmer’s wife was happy to oblige and this has been a favourite of hers and her mums ever since.

Kirsty shared this recipe with me knowing it would be perfect for feeding our large crew. And I am sharing it with you knowing it will be a favourite of yours for feeding your crew, a shearing gang, or even as a plate at your next fundraiser or function.

Mixing the cocoa with warm water is a genius idea. It saves cocoa powder puffing all over the place when you turn the cake mixer on.

Why do these flavours work so well together?

The sweetness of dates contrasts beautifully with the bitterness of coffee. When consumed together, the flavors complement each other, creating a balanced and satisfying taste experience. The rich, caramel-like flavor of dates can enhance the depth of flavor in coffee, while the bitterness of coffee can help balance out the sweetness of dates.

Do you want to know what type of baking tin I use?

I use a 33cm x 23 cm tin.
You can find a smilier one here

Ice the cake with the caramel icing or a coffee icing would be nice too. Instead of golden syrup use a shot of espresso.

Why are dates used in cooking?

  1. Natural Sweetness: Dates are naturally sweet, making them a great alternative to refined sugars in recipes. Using dates can help enhance the sweetness of a dish without the need for added sugars, making them particularly useful in desserts, baked goods, and sweet sauces.
  2. Rich Flavor: Dates have a rich, caramel-like flavor that can add depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes. They contribute a distinct sweetness and a hint of earthiness, making them a versatile ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes.
  3. Moisture and Texture: When used in baking, dates can help retain moisture and add a pleasant chewiness to the texture of baked goods. They can also act as a binding agent, helping to hold ingredients together in recipes like energy bars or granola.
  4. Nutritional Benefits: Dates are packed with nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Adding dates to recipes can increase their nutritional value, providing additional fiber for digestive health and essential nutrients for overall well-being.
  5. Versatility: Dates can be used in various forms in cooking, including whole dates, chopped dates, date paste, or date syrup. This versatility allows for their incorporation into a wide range of dishes, from salads and savory stews to smoothies and desserts.
  6. Natural Preservative: The high sugar content in dates acts as a natural preservative, helping to extend the shelf life of certain foods when used as an ingredient. This can be particularly beneficial in recipes where freshness and longevity are desired, such as homemade jams or chutneys.

Did you know I have many great date recipes?

Sweet and Soft Date Scones.

Bubble Date Slice

Date and Walnut Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes



  • 250 grams Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp Cocoa
  • ¼ cup Warm water
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • cups Milk
  • 225 grams Walnuts
  • 500 grams Chopped dates
  • 3 cups Flour


  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Golden Syrup
  • ½ tsp Vanilla
  • 2 cups Icing Sugar



  • Cream the butter and sugar. Make sure it is well creamed and the sugar is combined.
  • Add the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each additon.
  • Dissolve the cocoa in the warm water and add it to the creamed mixture
  • Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and set aside
  • In small batches add the walnuts, dates and flour. Alternating each small batch with a little milk.
  • Bake at 180 for 30-35 minutes


  • Melt together the butter, golden syrup and vanilla
  • Add the icing sugar and make a smooth icing using boiling water to get the desired consistency.