caramel date cakeI’ve been making this exquisite moist date cake with a crunchy caramel and coconut topping on and off for years. I love it because it’s a reasonably non-fuss cake that I can be made at reasonably short notice and the ingredients are pantry staples I always have on hand. Taste wise, it’s a sensation: It always gets people groaning and asking for more. The only thing to note is that it is best eaten on the day it is made, if not the day after. That’s usually no problem, it gets demolished!

Caramel Date Cake with Crunchy Caramel Coconut Topping

1 cup dates – chopped
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon baking soda
60g butter
One egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup sugar
1 + 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Crunchy Caramel & Coconut Topping
1 cup coconut
1 cup brown sugar
60g butter
2 teaspoons of milk

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees (normal bake).
  • In a medium sized saucepan place the dates, warm water, butter and baking soda. Heat slowly and cook until the dates are very soft.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and add beaten egg, vanilla essence, sugar, sifted flour, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  • Place in a greased and floured 20cm ring tin and bake for 30 minutes until almost cooked.
  • Towards the end of the cake’s cooking time (as above) place all of the topping ingredients in the same saucepan that you used for the cake.  Slowly bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes.
  • When the cake’s cooking time is up, remove the cake from the oven and pour the topping over the cake.  Place the cake back in the oven for 10 more minutes or until the topping is a golden brown.
  • Best served warm with yogurt or freshly whipped cream (Note: At serving time I often give the cake 15 seconds in the microwave to warm it slightly if it’s already cooled).

PS: I entered this recipe in the Sweet New Zealand #35 competition – check out all the entries here!