Date and Walnut Cake Recipe
Date and walnut cake is a quick and easy dessert to make. And it’s delicious to eat at any time of the year. But it’s an especially great make-ahead Christmas dessert. You can bake this date and nut cake a few weeks before Christmas and freeze it to keep it fresh. Then remove it from the freezer the day before Christmas to let it thaw.
On Christmas morning, cut the cake into little squares and mix it with whipped cream or Cool Whip. Now you have Amish date pudding. It’s an amazing and easy Christmas dessert that will get many compliments.
Amish Christmas Food
I published a post about what Christmas was like for me as an Amish child. (Click here to read about our Amish Christmas traditions.) The Amish are not conservative when it comes to making good food for Christmas. We always baked hundreds of cookies and made lots of chocolate candies. And we had a big assortment of food for our Christmas dinner.
Amish roast (chicken or turkey and dressing) is a traditional wedding and holiday food for the Lancaster County Amish. So we had this at every Christmas dinner that I can remember with my Amish family. And we always had mashed potatoes, noodles, vegetables, coleslaw, etc. Another side dish we always had was Christmas salad (also known as Ribbon Salad – recipe here). And, of course, there was a variety of different desserts, like pecan pie, cookies, homemade vanilla cornstarch pudding, and this date and walnut pudding.
There was so much good food, and I’m sure we all ate more than we should have. But that’s typically what happens over the holidays. Then we diet after New Year’s Day.
Old-Fashioned Date Pudding Recipe
Date and Nut Pudding was one of my father-in-law’s favorite Christmas desserts. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend too much time with him, since he passed away only about a year and a half after we got married. But he loved this date dessert.
My mom-in-law, however, made her date and walnut pudding by layering date cake with a homemade butterscotch pudding and cool whip. It is amazing, and I started making it like that sometimes too. The pudding adds an extra flavor and creaminess that takes this date pudding to a new level. But it is easier to bake the date and nut cake and mix it with just the cool whip. It’s such a fast and easy make-ahead Christmas dessert.
Date Nut Cake
This recipe for date pudding is super easy to make. If you can find chopped dates, feel free to buy them. I used whole pitted dates and chopped them with my Ninja chopper. (Yes, I use this gadget for almost every recipe that I publish on here :).) And I also chop my nuts with my Ninja.
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If you don’t have a chopper (you should invest in one ;)), you can use kitchen shears or a knife to chop the dates and nuts.
Date and Walnut Cake Recipe with Egg – Make Ahead Christmas Dessert
To make date and nut cake put the chopped dates into a large bowl. Add the butter and pour the boiling water over the top. Let it rest for about five minutes.
Add the sugar, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. Then add the dry ingredients and mix. Stir in the chopped nuts. Bake in a greased 9 x 13″ cake pan for about 25 – 30 minutes.
Cool the cake. Now you can cover the cake with a couple of layers of plastic wrap and the lid and freeze it for several weeks until you’re ready to serve it. Or you can serve it immediately. Date cake is delicious served with ice cream or pudding and drizzled with butterscotch sauce. Or you can mix it with Cool Whip or whipped cream to make date pudding.
Assemble the Amish date nut pudding at least an hour before serving. Cut the room temperature cake into little squares and mix it with cool whip or whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Then drizzle with caramel sauce, or not.
Should I use Cool Whip or Whipped Cream??
We always made Amish date pudding with Cool Whip, but I very seldom buy Cool Whip. Whipped cream is so easy to make. Simply buy a big carton of heavy whipping cream at Walmart. Pour the cold cream into a mixing bowl. Add vanilla and sugar (to taste), and beat it at medium-high speed until it starts to thicken. Then continue to beat at high speed until soft peaks form. Don’t walk away and let this beat too long though, because eventually you will be making butter ;).
Whipped cream is a lot healthier than Cool Whip. It’s the real cream from the cow. Cool Whip is some artificial man-made substance.
And, of course, whipped cream tastes so much better than Cool Whip. I used to like Cool Whip and could eat it by the spoonfuls. But since I started using real cream, I will never go back. Lightly sweetened whipped cream is the real deal, and we eat way too much of it (on top of pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc. You get the point! I love the stuff!)
So I recommend making date pudding with whipped cream, but I know that some of you won’t feel like bothering, so go ahead and make it with Cool Whip. It’s good either way.
And honestly, if you use whipped cream, don’t mix more of the cake with the cream then what you think you’ll get eaten in a day or two. It will be better when freshly mixed, as whipped cream is not as stabalized.
Date and Nut Cake Recipe, Amish Date Pudding
- 1 c. chopped dates
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 c. boiling water
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 c. chopped walnuts
- 2 – 3 (8 oz.) containers of Cool Whip, thawed (or sweetened whipped cream)
- caramel or butterscotch sauce to drizzle, if desired
To make Date Nut Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Put chopped dates into a large bowl. Add butter and pour boiling water over the top. Let set for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add sugar, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Add flour, soda, and salt. Mix.
- Stir in the chopped nuts.
- Pour into a well-greased 9 x 13" cake pan. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool.
To make Date Pudding:
- Cut the cooled cake into little squares and mix with 2 – 3 tubs of thawed Cool Whip. Or substitute the Cool Whip with whipped cream. (See notes.)
- Place into a large serving dish, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Drizzle the top with caramel sauce, if desired. Serve.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.