Aunt Jenny's Date Nut Cake

Mary Ann Esposito

By Donna Soares, Ciao Italia's Senior Culinary Supervisor.

When Mary Ann asked me for a favorite recipe, of course this one came to mind immediately. I make this date and nut loaf anytime of the year but especially at the time of holidays. The recipe card is kept in my kitchen drawer, not my computer, because reading Aunt Jennie's original handwritten recipe takes me back to a time many years ago when she first gave me this recipe.

It is very special to me and brings to mind memories of family time and cooking with my grandmother and aunts. Simple ingredients and easy to make; I hope you will try this one-bowl recipe. It's one of my family favorites.


One 16 oz.package of dates, pitted, and chopped in small pieces
1-  1/2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1  teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Mix together first three ingredients in a heat safe bowl or pan and allow to soak for 20minutes covered

Then add remaining ingredients.

Fill to three quarters full one 5 X 9 inch loaf pan. There will be extra batter to make a loaf in a smaller pan.(May also be made in mini loaf pans, or double the recipe and it will make three 5 X 9 inch loaves ).

Bake for one hour at 350 °F. Touch the top of the loaf to test for doneness. When firm to the touch, insert a toothpick into the center of the top of the loaf. If it comes out clean, then it is done.

Serve alone, with a meal, or with cream cheese for a breakfast treat with coffee or tea.

item recipe is featured in Episode 0 of Season 0.

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This collection epitomizes the tradition and love that goes into all of Mary Ann Esposito's cooking. Like her award-winning TV series, this book will live on for years with all of those who cook her delicious recipes. My kids love everything Mary Ann cooks!"


Leave a comment

  1. maryann's avatar


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    where are the eggs?
  2. Heather's avatar


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    I wanted to say that I love this recipe! It gives a nice, solid bread that is sweet but filling. I tried to substitute raisins for dates, and while it tasted good, needs only 8-10 ounces of raisins for the recipe. I also added nutmeg and cinnamon to give it more flavor.
  3. Heather's avatar


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    Also, perfect in a bundt cake pan!
  4. Joan's avatar


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    I'd love to try this recipe. I read the comments and was wondering if eggs should be listed in the recipe. Thank you. Love the program.

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