This amazing traditional date loaf recipe came from my Grandma. Actually, it came from my Grandma's Great Grandma, so it's a 6th generation recipe! But I know what you're thinking - Date Nut Loaf doesn't sound particularly enticing. I used to agree.
For me, it had always had an association with funerals- something you could expect to be served at a wake. And some may even consider it to be the ugly sister of Carrot Bread. You know, the loaf you'd grudgingly make if you were out of carrots, had to make a loaf and only had dates on hand. But trust me, it just has a bad rap that is completely unwarranted. You'll want to take this loaf to the party! Well, I finally tried making this loaf because my grandma was always telling me how great it was and I kept thinking, "but it's date loaf, how could it be?" I was BLOWN AWAY by how great this date loaf is!!!
This date bread is a simple, yet delicious traditional recipe that has been passed on for 6 generations. It has since changed every notion I ever had about date bread. In fact, it is the best I have ever had! Although, I have to admit that I've tweaked the recipe ever so slightly because, well, I just can't help myself.
6 generations later...
I used pecans because I think they give this date and nut loaf a nice flavor, but walnuts can be substituted. But it's the fresh lemon juice that really makes this loaf sing! And butter of course- butter always makes everything better. The point is that this loaf is made with real ingredients - the same ingredients that were around 6 generations ago. It is so comforting to know that my own grandma's great grandma was cooking the very same recipe over a century ago- it's such a special connection to the past.
For this recipe, you'll need:
- boiling water
- unsalted butter
- all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- vanilla extract
- fresh lemon juice
*see recipe card for quantities
📖Variations & Substitutions
- Nuts- you can substitute walnuts for pecans
- Sugar - you could substitute brown sugar for the white sugar
This date nut bread recipe requires a 9X5 loaf pan. You an use a metal loaf pan or a glass pan However, if you plan to double the recipe and freeze one of the loaves, it's handy to use a loaf pan with a lid, so you can just pop it into the freezer once it's cooled. You'll also need a sharp knife- ideally a bread knife. (affiliate links)
This 10 servings. However, you can double or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust. You'll just need additional loaf pans.
I often double this old fashioned date nut bread recipe, make 2 of these loaves and store one in the freezer in a large Ziplock freezer bag. It will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months. This loaf will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
Don't slice this date loaf cake until you are ready the eat it. And once you slice into it, only cut each piece as you need it, as slicing it dries it out more quickly. If you do slice it before storing it, make sure to cover the exposed pieces with plastic wrap.
So simple, but beyond delicious...testimony to the fact that this easy date nut bread has lived on for 6 generations! And you don't even have to love dates to love this light and fluffy old fashioned date nut bread. It's ideal for enjoying on your morning coffee break or with a cup of hot tea!
And if you still want to take carrot loaf to the party as well, here is a fantastic Healthy Carrot Loaf Recipe
Did you make this date loaf and love it? Please leave a 5 star rating below!
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📋 Date Nut Loaf Recipe
- 1 cup pitted and chopped dates
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup chopped pecans (you can subsitute walnuts)
- 3 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and spray loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine chopped dates, butter and boiling water until butter melts. Cool.
- Sift flour and baking soda (dry ingredients) together in a separate bowl.
- Add sugar, egg and nuts to the cooled date mixture.
- Add vanilla extract, then dry ingredients to the date mixture
- Add lemon juice last and stir until combined.
- Pour batter into a prepared pan and bake for approximately 50- 60 minutes in preheated oven (or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean and loaf is lightly browned on the outside) . Cool on a wire rack.
I LOVE the title of this post Terri. As creative as the recipe. 🙂
Thanks Sue- haha.. I guess that's just how I have thought of it all these yrs!
Date load is very nostalgic for me, it conjures up the memory of all the delicious comfort food that my grandmother baked. MMmmmmm I think I'll pick up some dates the next time at Co-op !
Glad that it brings up such good memories for you, Nowel! Enjoy...
Terri, thank you so much for sharing this treasured (time tested) family recipe! I've never had date loaf, can you believe it?! I've never been a fan of date squares (matrimonial squares) probably because they are so messy haha! but I do love dates! Date and prunes...sometimes I think I'm twice my age, lol.
PS> this loaf is definitely NOT ugly! Love it!
Hi Bernice- thanks! I hated date squares too, until I tried my grandma's recipe. That's what convinced me to try this.
Haha.. I hear ya' - love dates and prunes as well!
Date nut loaf actually sounds really delicious to me, lol. I love dates! I want to have a slice of this with a hot cup of tea 🙂
Hi Shareba- Thanks! If you love dates, then you'll love it for sure - it's super easy to make 🙂
This is a super recipe!! Made it for a coffee break at the club I go to and there wasn't any to left to bring home. I cut the sugar to 1/2 cup and it was still plenty sweet enough. Thanks for posting this Terri.
I’m so happy to hear it was a hit, Susanne! I will try cutting the sugar too!-always a bonus to cut sugar!
I love this recipe. I made with dates, yummy. Had lots of prunes so, cut them up instead of dates and it was also yummy. A great way to use up my prunes.
That's great, Anne! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!!
I am crazy about nut bread. Can't wait to try it.
Thanks, Laura! Me too.
we love breads like these, and now have plenty of time to bake. Saving this recipe to make during the week.
I love this date nut bread. The family loves quick breads and this one was a big hit.I love how easy it is to make and tastes delicious!
Dates are a great way to sweeten a recipe naturally, which is why I love this recipe SO much. Thanks for sharing, Terri!
I really want to taste this recipe. I have a bunch of dates and I better use it asap with your recipe. Delicious!
I'd disagree, date nut bread sounds just as if not more appealing to me, but then I'm a big date fan. I love that this has been passed down through the generations - shows it passes the tests of time!
Can't wait to try this recipe and to smear it with butter (mmmmm), it's so different (and looks amazing)! Thanks for sharing it!
Love that there are chunks of dates & nuts in this.
Yes, it's healthy and delicious!
What size loaf pan are you using please?
I use a 9X5X3 loaf pan.
I am looking forward to making this for my mom. No baking powder needed? Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!
Hi Kerriann - nope - just ingredients as listed! It works 🙂 Enjoy...
I've made this several times. It's easy and delicious. I use brown sugar. We've always got dates on hand and it's much lower in fat than my date squares.
I'm glad you like it, Maria! I need to make it again - it's been a while!