Date and Walnut Traybake by Mary Berry


Despite the inclusion of dates and walnuts, this traybake does not taste anything like a sticky date pudding. While to some that could be considered a disappointment, it has a rich nutty flavour all it’s own which pairs beautifully with a smooth coffee on a chilly winter morning. The dates give a lovely sweetness and the walnuts a pleasant crunch. This is a traybake even those who dislike dates will enjoy.


  • 250g stoned and chopped dates
  • 40g softened butter
  • 350ml boiling water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar (or brown sugar to substitute)
  • 150g ground almonds/almond meal
  • 150g chopped walnuts
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 level tsp ground cinnamon


  • 225g sifted pure icing sugar
  • Grated rind and juice of one lemon
  • Walnut pieces, to decorate

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c or 160°c fan-forced and grease and line a 30x23cm baking tray or roasting tin.

Place the chopped dates and butter in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over the top and stir well. Set aside and leave to cool.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a separate bowl, stir in the date mixture and add the remaining cake ingredients. Stir until just combined and then pour into the lined pan.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. The recipe calls for 1 hour and 10 minutes of cooking but for me the cake was beautifully done at 30 minutes so do check the cake regularly! A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing from the tin, peeling off the baking paper and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

While it cools, make the icing by mixing the sugar with the lemon zest and juice adding a dribble of warm water at a time until you reach a smooth spreading consistency. I only made half the amount and found it adequate to give a thin cover. If you want a thicker layer, feel free to make the entire amount.

Decorate with walnut pieces as desired and cut into 24 pieces.



  1. I didn’t use the icing for this tray bake altho’ the cake might well have benefited from a little sharpness from the lemon. Like you, I’d be reluctant to use that much icing sugar and, in the future, might use some lemon-flavoured thick yoghurt/creme fraiche as a side with it.

    I don’t know whether it’s because of the ground almonds but I think this date and walnut tray bake needs to stand for a few hours/overnight for the flavours to blend together well.

    It’s a good, flavourful version of date and walnut cake, and it keeps well, but that amount of nuts does make it relatively expensive which might sway the decision if people already have a favourite version of this.

    Thank you for posting this recipe.

  2. 250g stoned and chopped dates
    40g softened butter
    350ml boiling water
    2 large eggs
    200g dark muscovado sugar (or brown sugar to substitute)
    150g ground almonds/almond meal
    150g chopped walnuts
    350g self-raising flour

    Is the butter measurement wrong for this recipe, seems low when I look at flour and sugar being much higher doesn’t seem right.

    1. Hi Bell,

      The butter measurement is correct. The butter, boiling water and dates are combined before we put the batter together, and they meld together to form a sugary liquid.
      If you like dates, you’ll love this slice! I hope you give it a go and let us know what you think.


  3. I’ve just made this tray bake and it’s come out quite dense. Should there have been extra baking powder added? I think I’d try adding a little extra if I make it again.

  4. I have just made this Date and Walnut traybake, from MB baking bible. I too wondered if the baking powder had been omitted in error, it was very dense with a “crust”. I won’t make again as it’s quite a pricey, time consuming cake to make for disappointing results. I wish mine had looked like the picture above.

  5. I’ve just made this date and walnut cake.
    I never had enough almonds (only 100gms) so decided to use 50gms of coconut.
    Also 2 teaspoon of baking powder as I only use plain flour.
    I also added two desert spoons of cornflour to the mixture as it looked quite sloppy.
    I was very doubtful it would actually come out ok.
    To my surprise it was perfect quite bouncy not at all heavy, and tasted absolutely delicious !!
    I did cook it on 160 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes perfect !!!

  6. I cut the sugar in half with this cake and it was still sweet enough and tasted lovely. It does need a wet side such as cream custard or yoghurt as previously suggested. With the icing on too it would be far too sweet for my taste. It was really nice with a coffee as Mary Berry suggested. I have frozen 3/4 of it as it was a large cake. My husband loved it.

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