Matrimonial Cake


My mum used to make this when we were kids and I never realised how easy it was until I got the recipe for myself. I just remember watching magic happen in the saucepan as the dates turned sticky and gooey and the delicious smell as the cake cooked and the oats toasted. If anyone knows why it’s called ‘Matrimonial Cake’ please let me know.



I am using ‘cups’ here as a measure as I find it quick and easy – just a standard teacup is fine.

Topping & base:

1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups porridge oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar

Date Filling:

1 lb dates (pitted chopped)

 rind of 1 orange – grated
1 cup water
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Date Filling: Add orange rind to dates and cook the dates in the water with orange rind and sugar over a moderate heat until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat and add orange and lemon juice and mix well. Cool.

Topping: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add butter and rub in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add sugar and oats, and mix well. Spread half of the mixture in a greased oven dish and press in smoothly. Evenly cover with cooled date mixture then cover with the remaining crumb mix.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes in a medium heat oven (180C/350F/Gas 4) until light brown on top. While still hot, cut into squares in the dish and allow to cool.
Note: This will keep for several days in an airtight tin and possibly freeze – I’ve never managed to keep any long enough to freeze. We eat it as it cools. It’s delicious!


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© Caroline James Author