My guess is that this calls for two cups of dates.
From a box sold in Canby, Oregon.
Delicious Date cake
1 package of dates
1 teaspoon soda
1 cupful boiling water
1 Tablespoon shortening
1 cupful sugar
1/2 cup nut meats
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cut dates into small pieces. Sprinkle over them 1 teaspoon soda, then pour cup of boiling water over them. Cool. Cream shortening and add sugar, add egg, walnut meats and vanilla. Beat each together and mix good, add flour with salt sifted. Bake in slow oven for 45 to 50 minutes.
Makes lovely Christmas cake by adding another 1/2 cupful chopped nuts and 1/2 to 1 cup seedless raisins.
Interesting recipe. I saw a variation which added green and red candied cherries and called itself “Fancy Holiday loaf for the Pastor” in a parish pamphlet from a small church in Sandbridge VA. It is virtually the same recipe except for the cherries and it defines its purpose. 🙂