This week, Nori and I went for a drive and ended up in Point Lonsdale. We picked up some take away coffees and a slice of apple and date cake from a local cafè and sat on the rocks, watching the waves crash around us! It was freezing cold, but who doesn't love the beach in Winter, especially with cake and coffee in hand! This is my version of the cake we ate that day – it's jammy from the dates and jewelled with pears. The brown sugar also adds to the molasses flavours in the cake which is paired so nicely with a low hum of ginger. The coconut topping goes deliciously crunchy – this cake would be amazing served warm with some custard for dessert. Otherwise, a slice with a cup of tea on a chilly day would be just right. It is quite a moist cake and does take a little while to cook, just keep an eye on it to make sure the coconut doesn't burn.
MAKES 1 CAKE
300g pitted dates, roughly chopped
1tsp bicarbonate soda
200ml boiling water
150g brown sugar
150ml olive oil
10g fresh ginger, finely grated or chopped
2 pears (approx 400g), peeled, cored and roughly chopped
250g self-raising flour
80g shredded coconut
40g unsalted butter
40g brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Grease and line a 21cm round tin (a square or loaf tin would also be fine).
2. In a small bowl, place the dates and bicarbonate soda. Pour over the boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in the olive oil and ginger. Gently stir in the pears and the cooled date mixture, including any extra liquid. Sift over the flour and gently stir to combine, ensuring there are no floury lumps in the mixture. Pour into the prepared tin.
4. For the coconut topping, place all ingredients in a small bowl and rub together with your hands until the butter has coated the coconut. It should be able to form clumps when pressed. Scatter over the cake and bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out just clean when inserted. Cool slightly in tin then remove and either serve warm with custard or continue to cool on a wire rack.