• TO DRINK: Biedouw Valley Rooibos and Buchu Tea is perfect for this cake.

    Date, coffee and ginger cake with cashew brittle

    Serves: 1 cake
    Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 mins


    • 300g dates, pitted and chopped
    • 5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
    • 400ml strong coffee, hot
    • 4 large eggs, slightly beaten
    • 60ml (¼ cup) crystallised ginger, finely chopped
    • 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract
    • 200g butter, softened
    • 200g (1 cup) brown sugar
    • 200g golden syrup
    • 400g cake flour
    • 2ml salt
    • 5ml (1 tsp) baking powder
    • 20ml (4 tsp) ground ginger
    • 5ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
    • 2ml ground cloves
    • ICING
    • 100g butter
    • 400g (2 cups) brown sugar
    • 100ml warm milk
    • 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract
    • 1kg icing sugar
    • 400g (2 cups) white sugar
    • 100ml water
    • 60ml (¼ cup) golden syrup
    • 120ml butter
    • 250ml (1 cup) roasted salted cashew nuts, finely chopped
    • sugared rosemary, to garnish (see Cook’s Tips below)
    • roses, to garnish



    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a deep Bundt tin and line it with baking paper.


    Combine the dates, bicarbonate of soda and coffee in a bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes to soften, then blend in a food processor until smooth.


    Spoon the date mixture into a bowl and mix in the eggs, ginger and vanilla extract.


    Cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl until light and pale. Mix in the syrup.


    Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and spices into the butter mixture. Using a metal spoon, add the butter mixture to the dates and mix.


    Pour the mixture into the tin and bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.


    For the icing, melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the warm milk and vanilla extract. Stir in the icing sugar until smooth. Let the icing cool but not set. Transfer it to a mixing bowl and whisk until light, fluffy and pale, about 10 minutes. Spread it over the cake (see Cook’s Tips below).


    For the brittle, place the sugar, water, syrup and butter in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Brush the sides of the pot down with a wet pastry brush, and cook until hard crack stage is reached, 140°C on a sugar thermometer (see Cook’s Tips below). Stir in the nuts.


    Pour the mixture out onto a clean marble or stainlesssteel surface. Spread it out evenly, then cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter. Let the remaining brittle cool, then chop it into coarse pieces. Decorate the cake with cashew brittle, sugared rosemary and roses.


    To make sugared rosemary, dip fresh rosemary sprigs into a lightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle with icing sugar and leave to dry. If you prefer the icing to be smooth, instead of light and fluffy, let the icing cool slightly before simply pouring it over the cake. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, drop a teaspoonful of the mixture into cold water. If it forms hard and brittle threads, it is ready.