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Queen Elizabeth Cake



I love dates in any way shape or form.  I like to eat them out of hand, epecially those beautiful Medjool ones you get at Christmas time in the shops.  They are so rich and sweet and lovely.

I also adore cakes or biscuits/cookies made with dates and my Aunt Orabel's Date Squares/Matrimonial bars were unsurpassed!


We are especially fond of this old, old recipe for Queen Elizabeth Cake.  I don't expect there is a Canadian community cookbook without a version of this in it.  It goes way back.  The rumour has it that this is the only cake that Queen Elizabeth likes to bake.  Well, I am not sure she has been in the kitchen baking in recent years . . .  but perhaps when she was a girl, she did like to bake.  Nobody knows for sure.


But what I do know for sure is that it is a simple and delicious cake!  The dates make it incredibly moist . . . 


And it is studded throughout with lots of lovely walnuts.  I like to toast my walnuts first . . .  for some reason it enhances their taste, but you don't have to if you don't want to.  You can toast them in a moderate (180*C/350*F) oven for about 8 minutes and let them cool before chopping. 


Its quick and easy to throw together and bakes in about half an hour.  After it has baked and cooled a bit, you slather a caramel icing on top, which soaks in and drips down the sides.  A scattering of coconut is its final crowning glory. 
 
Whether the Queen bakes this or you do, I think you will find this is one very delicious cake!  I think sometimes that some of these old recipes are the best recipes of all.


 
*Queen Elizabeth Cake*
Makes one 9 X 12 Cake 

Incredibly moist and delicious.  Said to be the only cake that the Queen bakes by herself.  Not sure if that is true or not, but hey ho, it's a great cake nonetheless! 

150g of chopped dates (1 cup)
1 tsp baking soda
225ml boiling water (1 cup)
199g granulated sugar (1 cup)
125g butter, softened (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg, beate
1 tsp vanilla
210g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
60g chopped walnuts (1/2 cup) 

For the topping:
5 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
5 TBS heavy cream
2 TBS butter
75g of shredded, unsweetened coconut (1 cup) 



 Preheat the oven to 180*C350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter and flour a 9 by 12 inch baking pan.  Alternately you can line it with baking paper.  Set aside.

Place the dates in a bowl and our the boiling water over top. Stir in the soda.  Leave to stand until lukewarm.  Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Sift together the baking powder, flour and salt.  Stir this into the creamed mixture.  Finally stir in the date mixture.  Stir in the walnuts and mix all together well.  Spread in the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and the top springs back when lightly touched. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a large plate or board.

Combine the sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan for the topping.  Bring to the boil, and cook for exactly three minutes at a rolling boil.  Pour over the cake and spread it out with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with the coconut and leave to cool completely before serving.  Cut into squares to serve.


If you only bake one thing this weekend let it be this.  I will tell you that it is very remiscent of Sticky Toffee Pudding, so if you like that, you will LOVE this!  Bon Appetit!


 



 



QuickEdit
Marie Rayner
19 Comments
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19 comments:

  1. I love these sort of cakes too. Last night I made a clementine or mandarin cake. I think I will try this one too as tea loaf and date loaf are popular here.

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    1. Oh, your clementine/mandarin cake sounds good Suzan! xo

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    2. It is so sticky and a mix of sweet and tart.

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    3. Would love the recipe Suzan! xo

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  2. Yum! I love dates and I love Sticky Date Pudding too. I have made Queen Elizabeth cake many times. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome Sandi! I agree, its very good! xo

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  3. Easy and yummy, the kids love it, thank you!

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    1. So happy it was enjoyed Viktor! xo

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  4. This cake could be made gluten free if you use rice flour for the flour, it sounds lovely!
    GUESS WHAT??!! I made your Lemon Drizzle Cake, the one that used Splenda? My Dad is a diabetic and I made it for him, it was WONDERFUL!! Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Kay! So pleased also that your dad enjoyed the Lemon Drizzle Cake! xo

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  5. I'm curious...how did this cake get this name of all things? Also, have you ever posted your aunt's Matrimonial Bars? One of my very favorite things in baking is to discover recipes that have been pretty much forgotten and from other countries and other cultures. I particularly love a good many Jewish recipes. For the most part they're delicious, they use food pretty easy to find. Then they're usually good "common sense" recipes without a lot of bizarre crazy ingredients and are usually nutritious and delicious and most importantly, have meaning and history behind them. However, I have been discovering recipes from all over, from Italy (a good many of them it seems), from France, from the Baltic States. However, even with the translating software available I have some real humdingers that I've come across and I'm not always able to completely translate them to the level of being comfortable that I know exactly what to do. It's interesting though. I've learned when traveling that somehow food ALWAYS seems to be able to bring people together and respect each other. Sometimes its possible to share a meal with people and never be able to understand a single word the other is saying and yet, you're able to get your meanings across if you're somehow breaking bread together and sharing a meal. Now if we could just get the rest of the world to do that we'd be in pretty darn good shape.

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    1. Yes Pam, I think all of the worlds problems could be sorted out around the dinner table, which reminds me of an Andy Griffith episode where he has some Russian and American ambassadors staying at his place and they get together over a midnight feast of Aunt Bea's fried chicken. Will have to dig that out and watch it now! Here is a link to my Aunt Orbelle's Date Squares: https://theenglishkitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/aunt-orabelles-date-squares.html

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  6. You know, I just thought of something. The first two years of the Queen's marriage, before she was Queen she was deployed and stationed with Philip, who was in the military of course and they were stationed on the island of Malta. Now obviously they lived a bit better than the average "joe" stationed there but not quite as much as some might think. I recently saw an interview on this and during this short time Elizabeth, to a certain degree, lived like an "ordinary" housewife or an officer's wife. She went to the market, she and Philip lived to some degree like William and Catherine do today. Her husband was in the military and she was his wife stationed with him at his posting. She DID go to market and she DID do errands and she cared for her husband. I think it was still a fairly privileged life compared to the average person but it was by NO means the life she lives after her father died. During those years I would bet you ANYTHING she DID bake this cake in her own kitchen for her husband and perhaps when people were coming for tea. I bet she DID bake this cake and if she says it was her favorite then I believe during those two years, and maybe even before because remember, how old was she when her father had to take the throne? Was she what is now termed a "tween". Basically this is something that wasn't around in my childhood days. But a tween is a child, it often seems to be more girls than boys, that is between the ages of 10 and 13 or 11 and 13. Kids today aren't really children any longer, not in the sense we were. In the sixties and early 70s were we FAR more innocent than kids today. Heck, if someone said gay we thought someone was happy. We had NO clue any other type of relationship except between a man and a woman even existed in this world. I got my last Barbie item at 12 years old. Today, that child would be laughed off the school property. I didn't play with it long then, I was changing but that's FAR longer than girls today. Anyway, back to the Queen. I would wager anything that Elizabeth the officer's wife DID cook and bake and do other things required of a wife to care for her husband the officer. Wouldn't it be neat to know. Why don't you write her a letter and ask. I'm not kidding. Some social secretary will be the one to write back but say you shared the cake on your baking and cooking blog and some crazy lady from America says she thinks this is when you would have had time to bake this cake and is it really her favorite one to make. Plus, has she ever wished she could bake a cake for her family now? You might be surprised at the information you're given back. If you don't want to do it, I will. I figure, what do I have to lose?

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    1. I reckon you are right Pam, and I am going to do just that. What have I got to lose, as you say! And if I do, and get a response I will post it! I was playing with Barbie at 12 also. I don't think we were any less mature than children of today, but we were allowed to be children longer. Nowadays it seems that society, parents and children themselves are in far too much of a hurry to grow them up! xoxo

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  7. this looks really yummy Marie! Nice reading the comments about recipes from other cultures, I too find it interesting and love getting old recipe books.

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    1. Me as well Mary, You would love this cake and I am thinking your husband would also! xoxo

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  8. I made this yesterday and it is delicious! Soft, light, moist and full of flavour. The caramel topping makes it really very special. Another winner!

    As for the name, apparently the Queen liked to play at being a housewife when they were first married and she was still a princess and lived in Malta (where Philip was based in the Navy) so I'm pretty sure that it dates from that time.

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