Sticky Date and Pecan Cake

Whether you’re aiming at the Cederberg and Namibia or heading south to Cape Town, pull off the N7 at Piekenierskloof at Hebron where Steve Oldroyd rules the pass…

Try Steve’s Sticky Date and Pecan Cake with Christmas Pudding Ice Cream, Rum-Butterscotch and Almond Praline.

Christmas pudding is a wonderful thing filled with exotic dried fruits, nuts and dripping with brandy…

Date and Pecan Cake

Makes 12 small cakes

  • 350g dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g cake flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100g roughly chopped pecan nuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 180.
  2. Cover the dates with boiling water and leave them to simmer for a few minutes. Add the bicarbonate of soda and stir. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer speed onto low and add the eggs one at a time, incorporating the first one before adding the next. Add the vanilla extract and the dates. Slowly add the flour and the baking powder. The batter should be voluminous, light and airy and studded with dates.
  3. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with grease-proof paper cups to prevent sticking. Measure out the batter as evenly as possible. A 50ml ice cream scoop works well. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to partially cool in the muffin tray and inject with a squirt of rum-butterscotch sauce (see recipe below).
  4. Take the cakes out once completely cooled.

Rum-butterscotch Sauce

Serves 12

This sauce can be made in advance, refrigerated and reheated when needed.

  • 250g salted butter
  • 250ml cream
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 150g dark Demerara sugar
  • 1 tbs molasses
  • 150ml spiced rum


  1. Bring all the ingredients to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 -15 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  2. Decant the sauce into 2 plastic bottles with nozzles.

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

Serves 12

  • 2l tub top quality vanilla ice cream
  • 750g ready-made Christmas pudding
  • 1 cup pecans, walnuts, macadamia or pistachios, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, apricots or peaches, chopped
  • 2 tots brandy or rum (optional)


  1. Defrost the ice cream until it’s soft but not liquid.
  2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the ice cream and all other ingredients until light and fluffy-ish.
  3. Return the ice cream mixture to a larger container and re-freeze.

Almond Praline

Makes 250g

  • 1 cup sugar
  • a splash of water
  • 1 cup almonds, roasted and chopped


  1. Boil the sugar and water on high heat until a caramel begins to form. Watch like a hawk so that the caramel doesn’t burn and become bitter. Add the nuts and shake the pan to combine well.
  2. Tip the caramel onto a non-stick baking mat and leave to cool completely. Break it into chunks and blitz in a food processor until you have fine crumbs, like wet sand.
  3. Plate the date and pecan cakes with a scoop or two of Christmas pudding ice cream. Drizzle the rum-butterscotch sauce over and sprinkle with almond praline.

Wine suggestion: Cederberg Blanc de Blanc Méthode Cap Classique
Tea suggestion: Carmien Orange Choc Rooibos

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