In an earlier post I talked about the fresh walnuts I had got from Alberton House. I still had some walnuts left to use and I remembered the deliciously light Date & Walnut Cake recipe that my friend Vicky had made for my birthday. I asked Vicky for the recipe and was delighted to discover that it was in an old hand-written recipe book and mysteriously titled “The Queens Recipe” (she had no idea why it was called this).
After a bit of searching I discovered that there are various stories about this that are quite possibly just a nice urban myth. It also varies as to whether it refers to the current Queen Elizabeth or the Queen Mother when she was Queen Elizabeth (sometimes it is called the Queen Mother’s cake). It is proclaimed to have been her favourite cake or the only cake that she bakes by herself. It is also said that it must only be made to raise money for charity. It has appeared in many recipe books all around the Commonwealth since the 1940s with all sorts of variations on the date and walnut theme. Vicky made hers with a lemon icing, others serve it with a caramel sauce or with a fudge icing, with walnuts or coconut sprinkled on top, and in one version the coconut topping is put under a grill (“A scrumptious date nut cake that is truly fit for a queen. It is crowned with a grilled coconut topping”).
1 cup dates (pitted)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
Soak the dates in the boiling water with baking soda added.
Cream butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat.
Mix in the flour and baking powder, then walnuts, then date mixture.
Bake at 180C for about 35 mins in a square tin. I used a ring tin and baked it for 30 mins.
Top with your icing of choice and decorate as you wish.