Ginger & Date Cake with Crunchy Coconut Topping

July 13, 2015

Winter time seems like the perfect reason to bake a warm, moist ginger & date cake!  This is popular with children, even those who dislike dates (the dates are not in pieces but are mixed, smooth through the cake). My 8 year old is not a big cake fan (he only likes the icing on cakes) but he actually loves this recipe. It lasts well - add a slice to school lunches, if there is any left. Serve it up for afternoon tea with fresh whipped cream or thick yoghurt. Or, add dollops of sticky, salted caramel sauce and serve it warm for a delicious dessert!

Instead of adding icing to the top, we added a crunchy coconut topping. We also made two loaf cakes and put one in the freezer (it freezes well), rather than making a round cake. Choose whichever shape you prefer. Both the Ginger & Date Cake and the Crunchy Coconut Topping recipes are from The Marist Kitchen, a Collection of Recipes from Marist Primary School, available for sale on our website.

Ginger & Date Cake


 2 cups pitted dates

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups water

2 tsp powdered ginger

2 tsp baking powder

2 cups self raising flour

100g butter

1 cup castor sugar; and 1 cup brown sugar (we used 1 & 1/4 cup coconut sugar & 1/2 cup brown sugar)

2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius.
  2. Put the dates, baking soda & water into a saucepan and & boil for 3 minutes. Allow to cool. (If you do not want date pieces in your cake, use a food processor, once the mixture is cool, to process the date mixture, smooth.)
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, sieve the flour, ginger, & baking powder in a bowl. Mix together.
  4. In another separate bowl or electric mixer, cream the butter & sugars & eggs. Mix well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Stir to combine. Add the date mixture and stir to make a wet batter. 
  6. Pour the mixture into a greased & baking paper lined, 23 cm spring form round cake tin (or two loaf tins).
  7. Cook for approx 30 minutes, or until it is cooked (do not over cook).
  8. If using the Ginger Icing, for a topping, then add this to the top of the cake (optional, slice the cake and add icing between the two sliced layers) once the cake is cool. If using the Crunchy Coconut Topping, then quickly spread the topping onto the cake and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

 Quick Ginger Icing - 100g butter; 1 cup icing sugar; 2 Tbsp golden syrup; 3 tsp ground ginger. Put all the ingredients in  small sauce pan on low heat and melt, stirring constantly.

Or: Crunchy Coconut Topping: Traditional Sugar Method - 4 Tbsp butter; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 2 Tbsp milk; 1 cup coconut.  Mix the butter, sugar & milk in a saucepan. Bring to boil, remove from heat and add coconut. Non Traditional Coconut Sugar Method (as shown in the photograph) - 4 Tbps Coconut Oil; 1/2 cup coconut sugar; 1/2 tsp cinnamon & 1 cup coconut. Follow the same method as the Traditional Method to make the topping.


Serve with delicious The Herb & Spice Mill Sticky Salted Caramel Sauce (as sold in our Chocolate Fudge Brownie Dessert Hamper; our Fun Weekend Away Food Hamper; & our Gourmet Large Food Hamper). Enjoy!