Date and Nut Loaf – Mark II


My sister, Sandra, sent me a text after my last post with mum’s recipe for date and nut loaf.  It was a little cryptic in part.  It included ‘a few spices’ which I interpreted as something one conjures up when faced with ‘mixed spice’ in a recipe and you don’t have ‘mixed spice’.

I didn’t know how much mixed spice to go with so I checked out Ian Hemphill’s Spice Notes.  He advises: To impart a delicious sweet spice flavour to cakes, biscuits and pastries, add 2 tsp of mixed spice per cup of flour to the dry ingredients. As I don’t remember any distinct spiciness, I decided to go with 2 teaspoons all up.

I don’t know how old the recipe is or where it came from.  My guess is that it is an old Australian Women’s Weekly recipe as I found a very similar recipe by the New Zealand Women’s Weekly on-line.  I am sure there would have been a lot of recipe swapping going on.

My sister wasn’t sure whether brown or white sugar was called for.  All the recipes I have seen use brown sugar so I went with brown.  Also, I remember mum’s loaf being quite dark which I am sure would have come, in part, from the brown sugar. My loaf certainly looks like my mum’s did.

I followed the New Zealand baking instructions and baked this one at 160°C and it was cooked to perfection so I intend to amend my last post.  I am confident 160°C is the way to go.

This loaf rose spectacularly. It reached the top of the tins.  Both recipes use 2 cups of SR flour so this recipe takes the cake in this regard.

Both date and nut loaves taste great.  I like this one because it brings back fond memories.  Maus is batting for the other side on this issue.


  •  1½ cup dates, chopped
  • 1 cup hot black tea
  • 1 tsp bi-carb soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbs* butter, melted
  • 2 cups SR flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped

*These are 20 mil tablespoons.


  1. Place the chopped dates in a bowl, sprinkle with the bi-carb soda and then pour the black tea over the dates.  Set aside for one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  3. Stir brown sugar, egg and butter into the cooled date mixture.
  4. Sift mixed spice and flour together.
  5. Fold in the flour and walnuts until just combined.
  6. Spoon mixture into two loaf tins lined with baking paper.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

17 thoughts on “Date and Nut Loaf – Mark II

  1. Pingback: Spicy cranberry nut tea bread | Passion Fruit Garden

  2. Interesting method of baking – reminds me of the old American traditional Boston brown bread baked in a cleaned out coffee tin. Although, Boston brown bread isn’t quite the same, less sweet and uses molasses rather than brown sugar. I like the sound of this date and nut loaf. I’m sure it was very tasty.

  3. I have very clear memories of this cake when I was a kid that Mum used to make. I’m not sure if its the same recipe, but I remember the shape, texture and having butter smeared on it for a delicious afternoon tea on a cold winters day 🙂

  4. It’s been ages since I baked a date loaf, Glenda, but how I remember the aroma in my kitchen! It’s perfect for a wintry day and I’m sure your kitchen smelled wonderful.

  5. I don’t need psychic abilities to predict I will soon become the owner of a sealed loaf tin – I’m sure they taste better if they have the right look 🙂

  6. Pingback: Date and Nut Roll | Passion Fruit Garden

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