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Moist Chocolate Chip Date Cake

"I remember begging my mother to make this moist cake back in the '50s," says Kathy Frees from Fergus Falls, Minnesota. "Instead of sticky frosting, it's covered with sugar and nuts and is a wonderful treat to take along on picnics."
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min.
  • Makes
    20 servings


  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • Place dates and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in boiling water; cool completely.
  • In another large bowl, cream shortening and 1 cup sugar. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, salt and remaining baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with date mixture.
  • Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining sugar; top with chocolate chips and nuts.
  • Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 299 calories, 15g fat (5g saturated fat), 11mg cholesterol, 159mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate (30g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g protein.
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  • Patricia
    Dec 26, 2018

    No, it's not contemporarily health conscious, but you can make substitutions if you must. It's good old-fashioned decadence at it's best!

  • DPGirl
    Jun 11, 2017

    One of my all-time favorite cakes!! With a few mods. Recipe is probably over 70 years old; much older sister introduced it to me at young age and called it Picnic Cake? We always just sprinkled the chocolate chips over top until it looked right, so about 6-8 oz. Need it be right so you get enough melted chocolate flavor. Sugar on top is a must for the "crackled effect) (No powdered sugar, please). No "nuts" either, not necessary either, please. Yes, the dates, sugar and chocolate chips make it sweet. Might not be right cake for anyone who is watching their sugar intake. But have had many rave complements for this "antique" recipe. BTW, if anyone turns their nose up at "dates", you cannot tell they are in it, just gives it good flavor! Try it!

  • Esther
    Jan 1, 2017

    The recipe calls for too many chocolate chips. I would not use more that half a cup of chocolate chips with the half cup of chopped nuts sprinkled on top. I would not use the half cup of sugar as it's way too sweet. I could not get the cake to bake completely done. I have never had trouble baking a cake but this one just was not good. My husband is a chocolate lover but even he said there was way too much. I won't make this cake again.

  • JoNanners
    May 7, 2016

    My reserve of the 1/2 cup of sugar, I use Confectioner's Sugar as this recipe is the exact from my mom as when I was a kid. However, rather than sprinkle with sugar, we would sift over with powdered sugar after cooled so won't soak in to hot chocolate chips. Looks nicer that way too. I also used Walnuts which were great and again as my mom had in her recipe.

  • ClaudiaElders
    Jul 18, 2015


  • missyh96
    Aug 11, 2013

    very good

  • kellyannm
    Oct 10, 2010

    Yummy! I used walnuts instead of pecans and I served it with whipped topping. It was very good that way.

  • wild_violet1964
    Aug 5, 2010

    No comment left

  • nancyduffy13
    Apr 2, 2006

    No comment left