Saturday, October 10, 2009

Date & Walnut Loaf

I personally haven't made this recipe before (until today) but I have glorious memories of eating this loaf with old people. It always seemed to be the elderly who knew about this particular recipe and took the time to make it. I suppose it has to do with the cylindrical baking tins. If you haven't seen them before, they could look like some weird kind of storage tin with two lids. They aren't that common nowadays.

Ready to go in the oven, top and bottom lids on

So imagine my surprise when I was looking through the Op Shop recently, and found a couple of loaf tins. They were five dollars each but were in excellent condition. I took them home with me and here I sit today, with that satisfied feeling in my stomach, after eating the classic Date and Walnut Loaf...mmm...

I'll share the recipe so that others may start a new tradition - but don't worry, without the two loaf tins you can still use an oblong (4 cup capacity) loaf pan instead. Here are a few images of the classic nut loaf tin in action, first.

Top lid comes off to check with a skewer, to see if it's ready

This has almost risen to the top after baking, which is why you only ever fill the tins a half to two-thrids full before going into the oven. Another tip with filling, is make sure the base is on securely, place it on a baking tray (standing up) and don't ever lift it to meet the spoon as you're filling - or you'll loose the lot on the floor or bench. Carry the tray to the oven and slide it (with the tins) in together.

The base will always be more flat than the risen top

Here is the base after baking, when I removed the lid. Do you see the seam on the side as well? It has three clever notches which hold the tin together, then only releases once you remove the top and bottom lids. Like so...

Cake comes away easily from the greased tin

This smelled so good when I removed it from the tin - kind of like sticky date pudding, only more nuttier. The reason these tins are so good with heavy cake mixes however, is they steam as well as bake. You end up with a really moist cake. For this reason, make sure at least one of your lids has a small hole in the top, to help some of the pressure escape. All my lids had a small hole.

It's important to note when setting your oven, to also make sure you have enough height for the tins to stand up. I had mine on the lowest shelf level, and removed the second shelf entirely.

Oh yes...and best served with lashings of fresh, cold butter, on the warm sliced loaf.

~ Date & Walnut Loaf

1 1/3 cups chopped pitted dates
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
pinch salt
1 1/4 cups hot water
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup (100g) butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg, beaten

1. Oven setting 180 degrees Celsius/350 F/gas mark 4/fan-forced 170 degrees Celsius.

2. Grease 2 x cylindrical loaf tins or 1 x 4 cup oblong loaf pan with melted butter, fat or oil.

3. Put the dates, soda and salt into a bowl and pour over the hot water. Set aside until cool.

4. Sift flour into a bowl, rub in the butter, then stir in the walnuts and sugar until well mixed.

5. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together roughly, then add the beaten egg until combined.

6. Separate evenly between the 2 loaf tins, or place into the single pan.

7. Bake 1 hour or until skewer comes out clean. Bake another 15 minutes if required.


  1. Heck Chris.... I too think of eating date loaf with the My late Nanna made a killer date & nut loaf. I have a couple of those tins....must make them again. Hubby isn't so keen on them, but I love them.

    Isn't home baking the best????

  2. Absolutely, home baked goods are just so darn tasty!

    You won't regret making it again Lucky, after one bight you'll remember everyone you ever ate date loaf with, LOL.

  3. I love cooking in these tins and the boys think it is such a novelty that the cake is such a funny shape.

    Date loaf is yummy, one of those not to sweet but hits the spots kind of cakes.

  4. It's great to hear these tins are still being used by others. What other kinds of cakes do you make in your tins, little farm?

    I'm wondering if a carrot cake would bake just as nicely in them?

  5. very nice
    lov your tins, just checked & thats the same recipe i have
    now im on the look out for those tins

  6. Oh Chris! My grandma used to make this and I don't know what became of her tin. I've searched and searched for them - lucky you! It's one of my favourite cakes too!

  7. Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to your comments Jacqui. I've waited years for the tins, although I wasn't particularly on an expedition for them, LOL.

    I was chuffed when I first saw them and decided to bight the bullet. I hope you find some soon. If I should come upon any more I'll let you know. :)

  8. A bit late, but I have to say that I'm very intrigued by the clever design of those tins! I have never seen anything like them, not even in antique shops in the U.S. I'm a baking nerd, so don't mind me! I'll be trying the recipe perhaps in old coffee cans (Boston Brown Bread is the round loaf most common here, baked wax paper lined coffee cans).

  9. I did a bit of research, rebel, and it turns out these were called double ended, nut loaf tins, manufactured by a company in Australia, called "Willow".

    I've seen a few advertised on Ebay in Australian dollars. But it sounds like you have your own unique way of baking round cakes overseas. A great way of recycling too!

    As you can tell by my photos, I love mine served warm with lashings of butter. Naughty for the wasteline I know, but oh so yummy!

  10. Butter is good for you! I insist on that fact!


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