Go Back

Date Nut War Cake with English Custard

Annette Zito, KitchAnnette™
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins


The Cake

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp shortening
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 2 cups dates, pitted and chopped (approx. 25 dates)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped

The Custard

  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2-1/4 tsp vanilla


The Cake

  • Add brown sugar, 2 cups water, shortening, salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and dates to a large saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • Dissolve baking soda in 1 tbsp water then add it, the flour, and almonds to the saucepan and mix well. Place in a parchment-lined loaf pan and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

The Custard

  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is smooth.
  • Heat the cream, milk, and vanilla in a small saucepan just until bubbles form along the edges of the pan.
  • Remove 1/2 cup of the hot cream and pour into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Gradually pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan continuously whisking. Continue to cook and whisk until it begins to thicken. Then using a wooden spoon, see if the mixture leaves a layer on the back of spoon. Run your finger through it and if it doesn’t run, it’s ready. DO NOT BOIL. Cover and chill.
  • Slice a piece of cake and plate. Ladle a bit of the custard over the top and serve.


I used vanilla extract to keep it simple but feel free to substitute with 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or one vanilla bean cut open lengthwise.