Sweet Date Loaf recipe

Sweet Date Loaf

Sweet Date Loaf - Dates soaked in orange liqueur and crunchy walnuts are baked into a dense sweet loaf that makes for a perfect breakfast or dessert!


Sweet Date Loaf

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I think dates might just be the most underrated thing in the grocery store.  I think they get a bad rap because they look like large mutant raisins.

Of course, the standard thing to do with dates is stuff them with blue cheese and wrap them with bacon.  Delicious no doubt.

You could apply the same procedure to your fat uncle’s shoe and have something that’s pretty darn tasty though.

That’s why I like this Sweet Date Loaf.  It has a few other flavors going on that go well with dates, but it’s mainly just jam-packed with the sweet fruit.

Date and Orange Loaf

1 9x5 loaf
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Sweet Date Loaf recipe
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KitchenAidHand mixerLoaf panMicroplane zester

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Dates soaked in orange liqueur and crunchy walnuts are baked into a dense sweet loaf that makes for a perfect breakfast or dessert!

Recipe slightly adapted from Ina Garten.


2 cups medjool dates, chopped
1/3 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, zest only
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup walnut, chopped


1) Remove seeds from dates and roughly chop them. Then add them to a bowl with the orange liqueur. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl), cream together the butter and brown sugar until it’s light and fluffy.

3) In a separate small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

4) Once butter and sugar is creamed together, add in egg, vanilla, and orange zest. Mix until smooth on low.

5) Add in dry ingredients in 1/3 batches. In between each batch, stir in half of the orange juice.

6) Once the batter is formed, try not to overmix it. Then stir in dates with orange liqueur and walnuts. Stir until just combined.

7) Spoon batter into a loaf pan that’s been buttered and lightly coated with flour.

8) Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes until it’s nice and golden brown.

9) Let loaf cool for five minutes, then remove it from pan and let it cool for at least another 20 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with cream cheese or butter!

Sweet Date Loaf

Dates are Delish

I bought a small container of dates for this Sweet Date Loaf recipe.  It was about 10 ounces of dates which was just enough for the recipe.  I figured I would just sneak one to see how sweet they were.

Four dates later I snapped out of my date-crazed haze and almost had to go back to the store to get more!

They are wonderful on their own.  If you have a sweet tooth, try having a few dates for dessert.  They are completely filling and so sweet!

dates for Sweet Date Loaf
Mutant raisins?

One thing to remember is that dates have seeds in them.  This makes them kind of a pain to work with.

What I like to do is cut all my dates in half and then the seed just pops out.  Then you can roughly dice them which is the size you need for this recipe.

seeds - Sweet Date Loaf
Easy to remove the seeds.

Dates are good on their own, but there are a few flavors that go really well with them.

Orange is one of those flavors, so this recipe sneaks in orange in about every way possible: liqueur, zest, and juice.

For the liqueur, you can use any orange liqueur really.  Just add a small amount of it to your chopped dates and let them sit for about 20 minutes.

If you want to really have your mind blown, be sure to try one of the soaked dates before you put it in the batter.

Whoa. Good and will get you drunk!

orange liqueur for Sweet Date Loaf
Any orange booze will work.

The Batter

This is a great batter.  It’s kind of a cross between cake and cookie.  The end result is a really dense loaf though that has a great texture and just the right amount of sweetness.

Start by creaming your sugar and butter together in a mixing bowl.  You can use a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this recipe.

creaming - Sweet Date Loaf
Butter. Sugar.

Cream them together for a few minutes until they form a light and fluffy base.

Meanwhile, you’ll need to zest an orange.  You just want the orange part off the fruit which has all the flavors and essential oils.  A microplane zester will make quick work of this.

zest for Sweet Date Loaf
Zest is best!

To finish the batter for the Sweet Date Loaf, mix together your dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg).

Then add the egg, vanilla, and zest to the batter base.  Mix that together and then start adding the dry ingredients.  I recommend adding 1/3 of the dry ingredients at a time and add your orange juice in between dry batches.

So the order would be dry – OJ – dry – OJ – dry.

Mix the batter until it just comes together.  You don’t want to over-mix it or your finished loaf will be tough.

Finally, mix in your walnuts and the dates that have been soaking.

dates - Sweet Date Loaf
Delicious batter.

Baking the Loaf

Spoon this thick batter into a loaf pan that’s been lightly buttered and floured.

If you’re like me, you’ll want to lick this batter bowl.  It’s delicious.  And alcoholic!

bake the Sweet Date Loaf
The batter is really dense!

Bake this sucker for 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees.

The finished Sweet Date Loaf will be a wonderful golden brown color and slightly cracked on the surface.

baked Sweet Date Loaf
Golden brown.

Let this cool for a few minutes and then it should just slide out of the loaf pan.

Let it cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing into it.

Sweet Date Loaf recipe from Macheesmo

Each slice of this is packed with lots of dates and walnuts.

I recommend serving it with butter or cream cheese!

Once you’ve tried this Sweet Date Loaf, be sure to try stuffing the loaf with blue cheese and wrapping the whole thing with bacon.


8 Responses to “Sweet Date Loaf” Leave a comment

  1. While I’m not sure about wrapping this thing in bacon (though I wouldn’t put it past a lot of people!), I bet throwing some bacon in the batter would be kind of awesomely salty-sweet. For real, though!

    Also? Cream cheese is totally the only thing that belongs spread on quick breads, in my opinion. Heavenly.

  2. When I was growing up, our official family fruitcake artist (and these were really good) always made it a practice to soak the loaves in spirits over the next few weeks. She used bourbon. As far as I know, not one of them was ever rejected or re-gifted! So I’m wondering, how would these be with a few post-baking drizzles of orange liqueur, especially if they are intended as gifts? Not as dense as fruitcake, do you think it would make them soggy?

    1. I think this might not be firm enough to soak in the liqueur unless you went super light on it. It’s great with cream cheese or butter though. :)

  3. This loaf looks delicious – I think it would make a great breakfast toasted with some cream cheese, a up of coffee and a sunrise.

    One of my favorite twists on an oreo style cookie is with dates. You make a thick date spread by simmering dates with orange juice and a bit of butter until it cooks into a thick, spreadable sweet explosion of flavours. Then you simply spread it between 2 crunchy oatmeal/Dad’s cookies and let it sit over night (if you can wait). The result is a soft oatmeal cookie sandwich full of date goodness which looks impressive but is actually very simple.

  4. Funniest thing, Nick: I stumbled upon your blog because I needed google to tell me how to spell “chalupa” (I’m posting a chalupa on my food blog in a few days) and your chalupa recipe from a while ago came up (they look awesome, as a sidenote). Anyway, as a fellow foodblogger, I thought I would let you know that when someone is looking to spell chalupa using google, they come to you.

    Your bread looks great and I completely agree with you regarding dates. I love using dates in place of refined sweeteners and one of my favorite treats is those little almond date rolls you can get natural food stores. Phew! Needless to say, your bread looks delicious. I’d slather it in butter, drizzle honey on top…maybe even warm up a berry compote and serve it as dessert.

    So happy I came across your site – I’m sold on macheesmo, you’ve made a regular out of me ;) Hope you’re having a fun weekend.

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