St. Malo Date & Walnut Loaf

Move over banana bread. This cake will be beautifully moist and light. It’s the perfect afternoon delight or as a breakfast on the go snack. It tastes amazing with a spread of butter or apricot jam.
5' + 120' preparation & cooking time
Quatre Épices spice


  • 225g Pitted Dates (Roughly chopped)
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 85g Margarine or unsalted butter
  • 85g of caster sugar
  • 120 ml of espresso or black coffee or black tea.
  • 1 free-range egg (beaten)
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 85g Walnuts (roughly chopped and toasted)
  • 1 tsp of Quatre Épices


  1. Place the chopped dates, bicarbonate of soda, butter and sugar in a large bowl and pour over the boiling espresso or black tea and leave aside to cool.
  2. Line a 2lb (900g) loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat your oven to 170°C /150°C fan/gas mark 3.
  3. Toast the chopped walnuts for 5 minutes in the pre-heated oven.
  4. Once the mixture has cooled, add the egg and walnuts, mixing through to combine. Sift in the flour, and Quatre Epices blend and mix to create a batter.
    We had no issues in the dates sinking to the bottom of the cake but you can give them a very light dusting in the flour if this is an issue or concern.
  5. Transfer the batter to your pre-lined tin and bake in your pre-heated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Everyone’s oven differs. Our oven was exactly 1 hour 15 minutes, however we made sure to cover the cake for the last 15 minutes with some tin foil to stop the top from burning.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. You can serve straight away if you have zero will power like us, or if you keep in an airtight container, this will taste even better after a couple of days.

Recipe can be doubled to make two loafs. It freezes very well and you get to enjoy again at a later date and arguably it’s a little bit more sustainable by using your oven a bit more wisely.

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