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This vegan date and walnut cake recipe is similar to coffee walnut cake but denser and packed with nuts and fruit. It's a spin on traditional British date and walnut loaf.

This rich and nutty loaf cake has a moist texture that pairs wonderfully with your favorite hot beverage.

a slice of date walnut loaf with a stack of more slices in the background.Pin
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📖 Recipe Overview

  • Quick And Easy - With minimal equipment, you don't need a blender, or stand mixer.
  • Simple Ingredients - Easy to find ingredients, a lot of which you may already have in your pantry.
  • Fluffy & Moist Texture - This is one of those cakes that tastes even better after sitting on your counter for a day or two. This gives the flavors a chance to marry and brings out the molasses in the brown sugar.

🧾 Ingredients Needed

Here's everything you need to make this date walnut cake from scratch:

ingredients for date walnut cake measured out in bowls on a wooden surface with text overlay.Pin

Ingredient Notes

  • Dark Brown Sugar - I use dark muscovado which is unrefined cane sugar with a high molasses content. If you want to use an alternative like coconut sugar you can, but the cake won't be quite as moist.
  • Olive Oil - A lot of date walnut loaf cakes are made with butter, this recipe uses olive oil instead which helps it stay moist for 5 days or more! You can swap olive oil for a more neutral oil like sunflower or rapeseed if you prefer.
  • Dairy-Free Greek-Style Yogurt - I initially tested this recipe without yogurt but after 3 or 4 tries I realized that an egg replacer was necessary to help prevent the cake from crumbling. You can use vegan sour cream, or in a pinch unsweetened apple sauce will probably work.
  • Hot Coffee - Be sure to brew the coffee at the last minute as the heat helps to soften the dates.
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🥣 How To Make Date And Walnut Cake

As mentioned, this vegan date cake is incredibly straightforward to make. From start to finish, you only need about an hour and a quarter to make it, which includes baking time! Here's a visual of how it's done:

dates and baking soda soaking in coffee and olive oil in a large clear bowl.Pin

Step 1: Add the chopped dates, baking soda, hot coffee, and olive oil to a large mixing bowl and set aside to soak for 15 minutes.

dates, coffee, olive oil, brown sugar, and vegan yogurt mixed together in a large mixing bowl.Pin

Step 2: To the date mixture, whisk in the brown sugar, yogurt, and vanilla until smooth and combined.

date and walnut loaf batter in a large mixing bowl.Pin

Step 3: Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a spatula until there are no pockets or streaks of flour. 

date and walnut cake batter smoothed out in a USA loaf pan.Pin

Step 4: Scoop the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top of it with a spatula or knife. 

date cake studded with walnuts in a loaf pan before baking.Pin

Step 5: Stud the top of the loaf with some more whole walnuts. Bake for 45-55 minutes, the loaf will turn golden brown on top. 

🌰 Variations

Here are some ways you can add some of your own flair to this easy date cake:

  • Skip the coffee - If you don't normally use coffee, you can swap it out for plain boiling water or add hot tea for a twist of flavor.
  • Add spice - A teaspoon of ground cinnamon or ginger would make a lovely spiced version of this cake.
  • Swap the nuts - If you aren't a fan of walnuts, you can use pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts instead. I recommend using blanched hazelnuts and almonds without the skins.
  • Skip the dates - If you don't like dates, you can use prunes or raisins instead.
  • Add Frosting - I feel like this dates and walnut cake is sweet enough, but you can always add another layer of sweetness and tang with cream cheese frosting.

💬 FAQs

How long does walnut cake last?

This cake stays fresh for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also extend the shelf life by freezing it for up to a month. Make sure you tightly wrap the cake in plastic wrap or place it in a sealed container before placing it in the freezer.

Does this date cake taste like coffee?

I don't think so! Hot coffee is added to enhance the flavors of the dates, brown sugar, and walnuts. It doesn't shine through very much in flavor but just adds a slight taste note of coffee.

a loaf of freshly baked date cake with walnuts on top on a wooden surface with whole dates and walnuts scattered around.Pin

🍞 More Loaf Cakes

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📖 Recipe

Date And Walnut Cake

4.98 from 80 votes
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
COOK TIME: 50 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10
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Description

This incredibly moist date and walnut cake is easy to make and uses mostly pantry-staple ingredients. Made entirely eggless and dairy-free, it's the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon cuppa!

Ingredients

  • 200 g (1 ⅓ cups) pitted dates, roughly chopped, *see note 1
  • 150 ml ( cup) hot coffee, *see note 2
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 100 ml ( cup) olive oil, or neutral oil such as sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 130 g ( cup) dark muscovado sugar, *see note 3
  • 80 g ( cup) vegan Greek-style yogurt, or vegan sour cream or skyr
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 g (2 cups + 2 teaspoons) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 90 g (¾ cup) walnuts, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish

Instructions

  • Soak the dates: To a large mixing bowl, add the chopped dates, baking soda, hot coffee, and olive oil. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Preparation: Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Lightly grease a 1-pound loaf pan with some oil or vegan butter and line it with a sling of parchment paper - leaving an overhang on the sides.
  • Mix wet ingredients: To the bowl with the dates, add the brown sugar, yogurt, and vanilla. Whisk well to combine.
  • Mix the dry ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and chopped walnuts.
  • Make the batter: Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a spatula until there are no pockets or streaks of flour. Do not be tempted to overmix!
  • Assemble: Add the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top of it with a spatula or knife. Stud the top of the loaf with some whole walnuts if desired. Place the pan on an aluminum tray or baking sheet (this helps bake the cake evenly from underneath). 
  • Bake: Bake for 45-55 minutes. The loaf will rise and the top will be golden brown. Check the cake is done at the 45-minute mark by piercing it with a toothpick or a knife, the knife should come out clean with a small few crumbs on it. Continue to bake in 5-minute increments as and if needed until baked through.
    Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Storage: When your cake has cooled, wrap any leftovers tightly in plastic wrap or foil, or place it in an airtight container. It can be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days (provided your environment is not too warm) or in the fridge for up to 7 days.
    To freeze, cut the bread into individual slices and separate them with sheets of parchment. Make sure they are wrapped well or place them in a sealed container and freeze for up to a month. To defrost, let it thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours.

Notes

  1. Pitted Dates - There's no need to splash out on medjool dates. Regular dried dates work perfectly for this recipe since they are presoaked before baking. Make sure there are no remaining pits.
  2. Coffee - Sub with hot water or tea.
  3. Dark Muscovado Sugar - Swap for soft brown sugar or coconut sugar (the result won't be quite as moist).
  4. Slice with a serrated knife. The walnuts in the cake are much easier to slice through with a toothed blade. I recommend waiting for your loaf to cool completely before slicing for the cleanest cuts.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 223mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 2mg
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