Date Squares (Matrimonial Cake)


Date Squares are a traditional Christmas treat in many families – the delicious date filling is sandwiched between two crumbly flour and oatmeal layers. In Western Canada it is known as ‘Matrimonial Cake’ – possibly because it was served at weddings.

Date Squares (Matrimonial Cake) Recipe



1 cup (7 oz – 200 gm) brown sugar
1½ cups (5¾ oz – 165 gm) all purpose flour
1½ cups (3 oz – 75 gm) oatmeal flakes
1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
3/4 cup (6 oz – 170 gm) butter
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) salt

1 lb (454 gm) dates
1 cup (8 fl oz – 237 ml) water
1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice


Prepare the filling first by simmering the dates, water and lemon juice in a saucepan for about five minutes until thickened and evenly smooth, stirring constantly.

Allow to cool.

Heat oven to 350°F or 180°C

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Mix in the sugar and oatmeal.

Layer half of the crumb mixture in the bottom of a 9″ (23 cm) square, greased baking pan and press down to make a firm layer.

Spread the cooled date mixture evenly over this and finish with a final layer of the remaining crumbs.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes until the top just begins to brown.

Cut into squares after cooling.


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