Polka Dot Picnic Cake

How can you not love a cake with such a cute name as that?  🙂  This recipe comes from my Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook, the Silver Jubilee edition published in 1972. I think half the fun of this cookbook is just reading the descriptions written for each recipe.  I don’t know who decided there must be a description for EVERY recipe, but clearly the writers had a bit of trouble with that because some of them are pretty darn corny.  The one for this recipe isn’t so bad-“There’s no frosting to melt before time to serve at summer picnics.” Why no, no there’s not.  How clever! This book was a Goodwill find, and I really bought it more for nostalgia than anything, but I have actually found quite a few recipes that appeal to me.  Mmm jellied beef mold anyone?  Just kidding!

Btw, does anyone else take cookbooks to bed to read?  No trashy novel reading in bed to wind down at the end of the day for me, no sir!  This, of course, eventually leads to me getting the munchies, so then I have to debate with myself on whether I really want to get back up for a snack and then have to brush my teeth all over again.  Most of the time I’m a good girl and resist the urge…

I assume the name Polka Dot Picnic Cake comes from the chocolate chips and nuts sprinkled over the top.  They don’t look particularly polka-dot-y to me, but hey, I still like the name. I also like that the directions for recipes in this cookbook are very concise.  I  really dislike wordy, convoluted directions.  Just keep it short and sweet!  And on that note,  I’ll stop being wordy myself and just say, Go make this recipe, you’ll like it!

Polka Dot Picnic Cake


  • 1 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts(I used walnuts)


Mix together chopped dates and hot water.  Set aside to cool.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs, and beat until fluffy.  Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with date mixture.  Mix well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  Spread batter in greased 13×9 baking dish.  Top with remaining chocolate chips and the nuts.  Bake at 350F for about 35 minutes.


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