Gluten free date and walnut traybake topped with delicious coffee buttercream

Gluten free date and walnut tray bake

What a delightful recipe I have to share with you today. This delicious gluten free date and walnut traybake topped with lightly whipped coffee buttercream, a sprinkle of chopped walnuts and finished with a dusting of cocoa, really is the perfect afternoon treat. It’s also another really simple recipe to pop together and smells AMAZING whilst it’s baking! And may just be my current favourite bake.

The date and walnut loaf recipe I’ve used for this traybake, originated from the blog, Baking with Granny. I did originally make it as a loaf style as the recipe recommended, but then decided to make it into a traybake instead. I also adjusted a couple of ingredients to achieve the ultimate gluten free bake. Baking with granny is a great site and has plenty more recipes on there, that could be easily adapted to be made gluten free. Do check it out!

I considered a couple of different topping for my date and walnut traybake. But then remembered a great recipe that I had seen in the Saturday Telegraph magazine for a coffee ‘frosting’ – something, which was suggested to top a coffee traybake – and felt this would be the perfect thing to top my cake with. Apparently you can also find the ‘coffee traybake’ recipe in Everyday Bakes and Showstopper Cakes by Mich Turner.

Ok, now time for me to crack on and share this gorgeous recipe with you.


For the cake
225g (8oz) *dates, roughly chopped
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cubed
110g (4oz) light muscovado sugar
225g (8oz) gluten free self-raising flour
110g (4oz) *walnuts, roughly chopped
2 large eggs
125 ml (4fl oz) boiling water
I rounded teaspoon *bicarbonate of soda

For the buttercream
110g (4oz) unsalted butter (allow to soften at room temp for about 1hr)
225g (8oz) sifted icing sugar
1 small shot of espresso (allow to cool) or 1 heaped teaspoon of espresso powder dissolved in a tablespoon of boiled water. Again, allow to cool.
2 teaspoons *vanilla extract

To finish
25g (1oz) *walnuts, roughly chopped 
*Cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3/150C Fan.

Lightly grease and line a 9×9 inch baking tin. The first time I made this traybake I used a 10×7½ inch, 1½ inch depth, which also worked well.

Add the chopped dates, muscovado sugar, butter and bicarbonate of soda to a large bowl and pour over the boiling water. Give it a stir, and then leave to allow the butter to melt.

Once the liquid is cold, give it another mix before adding the gluten free flour, eggs and chopped walnut.

Beat everything together well with a large spoon and then transfer the mixture into the prepared tin and pop into the oven. 

Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until the cake feels firm but springy and when a skewer is inserted into the centre of the cake it comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely before taking it out of the tin.

To make the buttercream: Soften the butter in a large bowl, then add the coffee, vanilla extract and icing sugar. Give the mixture a gentle mix with a large spoon to incorporate all the sugar before getting the electric mixer in there (if you skip this part, be prepared for the icing sugar to reach every corner of your kitchen when you switch the whisk on!!). Whisk for a good few minutes until the buttercream is light and airy and super smooth.

Place the cake upside down onto a platter, plate or piece of greaseproof. Gently peel back the greaseproof paper from the cake.

Gluten free date and walnut loaf

Spoon the buttercream over the cake and spread out evenly with a palette knife.

Gluten free date and walnut traybake with coffee buttercream

Sprinkle the chopped walnut over the top and finish with a sifting of cocoa powder.

Gluten free date and walnut traybake
Gluten free date and walnut traybake

Recipe notes:

This traybake will keep well in an airtight container and stored in a cool place for up to 3 days. Leave the buttercream off and the cake can also be frozen. 

I feel this terrific date and walnut traybake tastes its absolute best when served up a room temperature. And enjoyed with a nice hot cuppa and a minute or two to daydream. 🌈✨

For more teatime treats you may fancy having a look here!

For now
Liz x

*Double check this ingredient to ensure it has no gluten containing ingredients, ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable warnings’. If in doubt leave it out.

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