This straightforward and reliable cake both tastes good and is low in fat. What more could you want to satisfy today’s demanding consumers?

The recipe comes from Walter Mansbridge’s handwritten notebook and dates from the early 20th century.

Mansbridge was a baker in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, where his descendants continue to run a bakery.


Makes 10 x 600g/1 lb 6 oz loaves

Chopped dates: 1.5kg

Boiling water: 1.6 litres

Butter: 250g

White flour: 2kg

Brown sugar: 1.25kg

Bicarbonate of soda: 55g/2oz/10 tsp

Salt: 10g/½oz

Eggs: 10


1. Pour the water over the dates and leave to cool.

2. Rub the butter into the flour then stir in the sugar and baking soda.

3. Separate the eggs. Mix the yolks and dates together then combine with the dry ingredients. Mix well together.

4. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the mixture.

5. Put the mixture into tins and bake in a moderate oven at 170?C for one hour and 10 minutes.


=== Did you know? ===

The date has been eaten for thousands of years; there is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in eastern Arabia in 4,000 BC and it is possible that they were eaten even before that.

The ancient Egyptians considered the date to be a symbol of fertility and the fronds of the palm tree an emblem of longevity.