Thursday, January 19, 2012

Queen Elizabeth Cake: In the Buckingham Palace Kitchen

We may not be able to live the life of Queen Elizabeth, but we can do the next best thing: Bake the only cake she makes herself.

At least according to a recipe card I purchased recently at the amazing vintage cookbook shop of Bonnie Slotnick, a true treasure in Greenwich Village.  A note on the card reads:

Whatever its origin, this is a fantastic cake and one that anyone can make.  It's a sheet cake, so one needn't fuss with layers and fillings.  (Let the servants do that.)  There's no heart-stopping moment wondering if the cake will release from the pan, as you serve your guests (or yourself) slice after delicious slice straight from the pan.

I love the instructions that say: Mix in the usual manner.  The method I used is detailed below.

Although these look like sliced olives, I can assure you they're dates.  And even though I didn't chop them up finely, they seem to blend into the batter so that they're almost indistinguishable in the finished product but add a lovely flavor and texture.

The frosting is as simple and easy as the cake.

Melt the butter, brown sugar and heavy cream in a small pan, above, and cook until it looks like the mixture, below.

Then spread it on the cake, below, and sprinkle with nuts and sweetened coconut.

Queen Elizabeth Cake 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Pour one cup of boiling water over one cup of chopped dates and one tsp. baking soda.  Let stand while the following are mixed.

Beat 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter and one cup sugar until smooth.
Add two eggs, one at a time.
Add 1 tsp. vanilla.
Mix 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour with one tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt and add to butter-sugar mixture.  Blend until just combined.
Mix in nut and dates (including the "date water.")
Pour in pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Follow the frosting recipe on the recipe card above.

Don tiara and enjoy with your subjects.


  1. When you pour the "frosting" over slices of the cake as a sauce and without the nuts and coconut, you've got the classic English dessert, Sticky Toffee pudding. So yummy! I love this spin on it. And of course, a scoop of ice cream makes it that much better.

    1. Thanks so much, Anonymous. I always wondered about Sticky Toffee pudding, and I agree that ice cream would make this (and almost everything else) much better!

  2. But how much coconut and chopped nuts are you supposed to add? I didn't see it in the recipe. Any idea? Thanks!

    1. Anonymous: Just use the amount you want! It's as simple as that. Perhaps chop 1/2 to one cup of nuts, begin sprinkling them on and when it looks good to you, stop! Same with the coconut. Any amount will be just fine. And a little extra never hurt anyone.

  3. The grocery store had really good looking medjool dates yesterday, so I bought some and made this cake. I've decided it's no-fail delicious! I didn't have cream, so I made the frosting with an extra pat of butter and a splash of almond milk -- still good, if a little unconventional.

  4. what is table cream?

    1. I just noticed that ingredient now, and can't recall what I used. Probably heavy cream, though perhaps it should be clotted cream (which is served on the table with tea). As you can see, kkal (above) used a sub and it still worked. Frostings like this are very forgiving.

  5. This recipe is almost exactly the same recipe we've served at Thanksgiving since long before I was born and I'm 58! My recipe calls it Date Pudding and we serve it plain topped with real whipped cream- no cool whip on this one! Of all the desserts served on Thanksgiving, this is the first choice for everyone.

  6. This cake is being made for my sister's 60th birthday! Growing up, it was a favourite in our home. Mom used to make it for 'special occasions'!

  7. This frosting me of the one I use on my Graham Cracker Cake. But, I add a little more cream, some cinnamon, and nutmeg, and poke holes in the cake with a meat fork, before pouring the frosting on.

  8. I have been making this cake for 30 years. I use evaporated milk in the frosting but heavy cream will work well. I always poke holes in the cake before adding the frosting. I use an 8X8 pan so the slices are smaller and dense. This cake is very rich. I love this cake and so does everyone I serve it to.