Boxing Day cake

21 December 2011

This is a special cake for Boxing Day which has an unusual hint of almond and honey giving it a taste of North Africa.

Cooking time

1 hour


  • 6 oz (175g) margarine or butter 
  • 1 dessertspoon sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons honey 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 4 oz (110g) dates 
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Few drops of almond essence 
  • 1 lb (450g) self raising flour (sifted) 
  • Milk to mix


Cream the fats, sugar and honey. Slowly beat in the eggs. Then add the dates (cut into quarters), nutmeg, salt and almond essence.

Gradually, fold in the sifted flour. Beat well with a wooden spoon.

Add the milk to give a soft consistency. Put into a greased and lined 8” (21cm) tin.

Bake in a slow oven for about 1 hour.” (300 F, Mark 2, 150 C)


I’ve made Boxing Day cake quite a few times over the last few weeks for people to try out at the various signings and events about Grandma Abson’s Traditional Baking book. It’s been fantastic to see the delight on their faces when they taste it. I’ve not been able to find the origins but since it contains dates, I suppose this was a good way to use any dates left from Christmas Day feasting. It also has only a very small amount of sugar - 1 dessertspoon only. In fact, I’ve made it without any sugar and let the sweetness come through the dates and honey. This cake will keep a few days as it is fairly moist. Grandma adds milk before baking in the oven which gives the cake a lighter texture.

Grandma Abson's Traditional Baking features 190 recipes from Meryl White's grandmother who honed her skills as a cook housekeeper in service during the Edwardian times. It is available to buy now from YPD Books. For further details please visit

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