Matrimonial Cake

This cake became a favorite of my husbands after marrying into our family. I never really made it much as I just depended on my mother to bring it out on special occasions. Now I am 'hankering' for it again and tried to find it in my mother's recipe collection. A quick chat with Betty r brought me to the closest recipe in our similar Mennonite Cookbook. The recipe 'base' I am using for this posting was in the 1977 Mennonite Treasury of Recipes and was submitted by a Mrs. J. Dyck of Steinbach, Manitoba. The changes made to the ingredients are Betty's own which she shared with me today before I dug out the ingredients.

1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp. soda
Grated rind of 1 lemon

Mix ingredients as for pie, put half of mixture in the bottom of a 8 x 8 cake pan. Put date filling on to, then put the remainder of mixture on top of the date filling.

Date Filling:

1 1/2 cup finely chopped dates (Betty adds some apple to 'soften' the taste)
1/4 cup brown sugar
enough water to cover dates (Betty uses coffee for a more distinct taste)
Juice of 1 lemon

Bring to a boil.

Simmer until thick and of spreading consistency.
Cool before spreading on cake.

Bake all in moderate over (350 degrees) for 1/2 hour.

Cool, slice in squares and serve


  1. Sounds like something I'd like. Love oatmeal and dates together! Have a great week Trish!

  2. my husband loooves date squares! When it comes to sweets he can take it or leave it (beats me how), anyway, when it comes to these he always takes. Betty I add coffee to, the apples sound like a good idea, i'll try that.

  3. That date square looks so yummy!
    Hey Trish I added my 'two cents' worth to the recipe and you baked..we make a good team, don't you think? hehe
    Charlotte..the coffee just adds a nice flavor,right?

  4. Ah, matrimonial bars, always a fixture at weddings and funerals. Well, at least they used to be. I love them really cold, and I enjoy them now and then at Starbucks, they make a pretty good one too.

  5. My dad's favorite...and something that my mom baked regularly. I think I had my fill back then...but now am rather hungry for a nice fresh slice of matrimonial cake!

  6. i just remembered the last date squares i made had oj and the zest in the filling....that was good too.

  7. I don't know why I've never made this, because I really like dates in baking, as in nmuffins etc. Thanks for ading this recipe to our collection. Next time I'm looking for squares, I want to try these.

  8. My mother taught me how to make these. We called them date squares.

  9. Ah, matrimonial cake. Two flakes held together by a date.

    1. LOL Cuteset way they've ever been described!!

  10. i LOVE your blog! i stumbled on it a while ago and i now have a process to follow when i need a 'grandma recipe' i'm unsure of. i find what i think is the closest to the right one in one of my mennonite cookbooks, cross reference with yours and then i know i'm on the right track! (i actually often adopt some of your changes and have yet to be disappointed!) i've also found a few on your site that i couldn't find anywhere else! keep posting and i'll keep cooking/baking :-)

  11. I really like this website.. When I google a recipe I always look to see if there is a "Mennonite girls can cook" recipe first. You go girls!

  12. My husbands favorite cake, but I make it with 1/2 dates and 1/2 raisins (probably at some time I didn't have enough dates) and found we liked it better than just dates, and use orange juice for the liquid.

    A Canadian