This bare-bones recipe from Cookfight comes from Kim Severson's mother, Ann, who cleverly used coffee cans to package and ship loaves of this date-nut bread to Kim at college every Thanksgiving. With dates for sweetness and pecans (or walnuts!) for crunch, this bread is hearty and satisfying.
Tips: This is one of those recipes that don't need messing with, though a couple teaspoons of cinnamon wouldn't be a bad addition. Browning the butter in a saucepan beforehand deepens the flavor.
Tweaks: If you are indeed planning to use the coffee cans to mail or give to friends, let the cake cool fully before putting it back in the cans and sealing them up in order to prevent spongy or damp cake caused by condensation.