Whiskey Date Walnut Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A lovely and delicious marzipan covered cake, full of walnuts, dates, spices, and flavored with whiskey. This is a perfect cake to serve at Easter, but when served with a cup of tea or coffee this dessert will entice your guests anytime of year. After baking the top of the cake is covered with sweet marzipan and then decorated with gold dragees and walnut halves “painted” with gold luster dust, making a stunning presentation that is really very easy to do.
Recipe type: Dessert | Cake | Marzipan
Serves: 8 to 10
  • 1½ cups toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup whiskey or bourbon
  • About 1¼ pounds marzipan. See recipe for Marzipan
  • Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 4 walnut halves
  • Clear alcohol such as vodka or gin or kirshwasser
  • Gold Luster Dust
  • Small artist paintbrush
  • Gold dragees
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare one 8x8x2 inch square pan; lightly grease the pan with shortening, line the bottom with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust the pan with flour.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine chopped walnuts and chopped dates. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over the fruit and nuts; mix well. Set aside. Tip: Since the dates get very sticky when chopping, sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon of flour before chopping to help cut down on the stickiness.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed. Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the bourbon, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and bourbon, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the date and walnut mixture into the batter.
  7. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 70 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pan and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
  1. See recipe for Marzipan.
  2. Place cake upside down on a cake plate. Tip: You can leave the cake right-side up, however the top normally has a bumpy texture. Turning the cake upside down provides a smooth surface for the marzipan.
  3. Heat apricot jam in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the cake with the jam. The apricot forms a sticky surface for the marzipan to adhere to.
  4. Sprinkle a marble board or pastry mat with a small amount of powdered sugar. Roll the marzipan ½ inch thick. Use a sharp kitchen knife to trim the marzipan to the exact size as the top of the cake, using the cake pan as a guide.
  5. Use the back of a long kitchen knife to press shallow indentations in the marzipan to form lines. Make the first line from corner to corner, and then make parallel lines about 1½ inch apart. Repeat in the other direction to form a criss-cross pattern. Gently lift the marzipan and place on top of the cake.
  1. In a small dish stir a small amount of clear alcohol and gold luster dust Whiskey-Date-Walnut-Caketogether; use this mixture to paint the top of the walnut halves using the small artist paintbrush. Set aside a few minutes to let dry.
  2. Lightly press a walnut half in the marzipan at each corner. Lightly press a gold dragee in the marzipan where the lines meet in the criss-cross pattern.
  3. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftovers.
Cake Decoration Inspired by: Cairns, Fiona, Bake & Decorate, Quadrille Publishing Limited, London, 2010
Recipe Notes
Pan: One8x8x2 inch square Pan Prep: Greased, Floured, Parchment Oven Temp: 325° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Help: Cake Hints and Tips, Toasting Nuts and Seeds, Marzipan

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Recipe by at https://thebakingpan.com/recipes/cakes/whiskey-date-walnut-cake/