Date Gingerbread

I found this recipe online with a scanned picture from Better Homes & Gardens.

What era is it from? It is hard to tell, but there are a few clues about when the original recipe originated. Using baking soda with vinegar to activate the soda is an older method, often seen in Great Depression recipes and into WWII. There are no eggs, and the milk is canned, which were WWII markers. The last clue is molasses, which would have been easier to acquire than sugar in that time period, as it wasn’t rationed while sugar was.

No matter what, this cake is SO moist! It is delicious. It does not need any sauces on top at all. Even our teen boys thought it was great.

Date Gingerbread


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp dry ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup canned evaporated milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1½ cups Medjool dates, pitted and chopped


Preheat oven to 375° and butter a glass 9″ x 9″ baking pan.

Add the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Whisk the milk, water, vinegar, and molasses in a bowl separately.

Add butter to a stand mixer bowl and beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed.

Add the flour and mix on low speed. Then, add half the wet mixture and beat it well. Scrape the bottom of the bowl, then add the remaining liquid.

Beat for a minute to combine. Add in the dates and mix.

Scrape into the prepared baking pan and smooth out.

Bake for 30 minutes and check if it is baked in the center. Continue to bake as needed. Our cake took 45 minutes to bake in total. After 30 minutes, I checked the center with toothpicks every 5 minutes.

Let cool on a rack and slice as desired.


I used Medjol dates. Long ago, dates became popular in WWII as an agricultural item, as they were not rationed. Due to their sweetness, people started eating them instead of candy. They are quite good for us, full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Don’t use the boxes of tiny dice dates sometimes sold in stores, those are rolled in sugar. Dates are plenty sweet on their own!