Queen Elizabeth Cake: Date and Coconut with Orange zest

A date cake with a shredded coconut and orange zest icing! We made the icing slightly more creamy than the original recipe and wow it was absolutely delicious. The history behind this recipe is as rich as its flavor.  Written beside the original recipe it says: 

“This is supposed to be the only cake Queen Elizabeth makes herself.
The Queen’s request is that it not be passed on, but sold for CHURCH purposes only. Large amounts of this cake she makes each year for the CHURCH OF ENGLAND.


  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dates

  • 1/2 cup butter, margarine or shortening

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted pastry flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


POUR boiling water over dates and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool. Cream fat; add vanilla and cream together. Gradually add sugar, blending thoroughly. Add eggs and beat well. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with date mixture. Start and end with dry ingredients and beat smooth after each addition. Turn into two 9-inch layer-cake pans that have been greased with butter and wax paper. Bake in a moderate oven (350F) for 30 minutes or until done.

Frosting Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded coconut, cut fine

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind

  • 1/2 cup cream

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar

  • 1/4 cup of butter

While cake is baking, mix together coconut, granulated sugar and orange rind. Add cream and let mixture stand. Stir frequently so that coconut becomes thoroughly moistened. In separate bowl cream butter and icing sugar together.  Then add in the coconut mixture, leaving half a cup to spread over top of the icing.  Spread frosting over each cake and then sprinkle on the coconut and orange rind.  Either make two separate cakes or layer on top of each other. Just before serving decorate top of cake with fresh orange sections.