So the blog’s birthday was celebrated without too much fanfare; she went out for drinks with a few friends, had a bit of cake, a few presents here and there, it wasn’t too late a night and she was in bed by 11:30pm. You see, the blog isn’t too much of a party animal, especially when it’s all about her, unlike the monkey who will find any excuse to have a shindig.
So for the party animal in all of us, here is a cake that spells out c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-i-o-n, with exclamation marks included!! I first experienced the Lumberjack Cake at one of the many farewell parties we had for my friend E, who by the way is now safely back in the motherland of Africa. I had never heard of a lumberjack cake before, and to be honest all my research has come up nil on how the name came about. All I know is that this cake is probably an Australian classic and something that you would most likely chance upon flicking through an old edition of Woman’s Day.
The cake is quite rustic and is a combination of dates, apples and a crusty coconut topping; it is usually served with a generous drizzling of caramel sauce and some thick cream. By the sounds of its ingredients list, you can probably now deduce that the cake is a saccharine wonderland; the dates, the brown sugar, the apples and the caramel sauce, it’s a toothache waiting to happen. I warn you now, this is no cake for the single person living by themselves, someone with no pets, no partner and no family; this cake is one for sharing, it's one for the masses and there's no question about that. A good 5 x 5cm piece is enough to satiate any hunger pangs for something sweet.
This cake is for the perennial party animal. There’s enough sugar in it to keep you going on the dance floor to last you through the entire rendition of the Grease medley and you might even have enough gas to get you through "The Love Shack”. You will be dancing until your hosts are forced to drag you out of their house by the legs, kicking and still jigging away to the Macarena.
If you do know or happen to find out more about the Lumberjack Cake please email me, I’d love to know more about this wonderful cake and how it came about.
from Donna Hay Magazine (issue 29)
FOR THE CAKE
250g dried dates, chopped
1 cup hot water
1½ tsp baking soda
180g unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1½ tsp vanilla extract
2¼ cups plain all-purpose flour
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
thick double cream, to serve
FOR COCONUT TOPPING
1 cup brown sugar
90g unsalted butter
1½ cups shredded coconut
1/3 cup full cream milk
FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
50g unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup single or pouring cream, room temperature
Place dates, water and baking soda in a large non-metallic bowl and set aside for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a square 23 x 23cm tin lined with baking paper.
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl medium bowl and beat for 8-10 minutes until light and creamy.
Gradually add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Sift in the flour and mix well to combine.
Stir through the date mixture and apples.
Spoon the mixture into prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes.
Place sugar, butter, coconut and milk in a small saucepan over low heat and stir well to combine.
Remove the cake from the oven and spoon over the coconut topping to cover the top.
Return cake to oven and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until the cake is cooked. The topping should form a light crust.
Cool in the tin.
Place the butter and sugar in a small heavy-based saucepan over low heat and stir until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
Add the cream, increase heat to high and bring to the boil.
Then reduce heat and simmer until just thickened.
Set aside to cool slightly.
To serve, slice the cake into square portions, spoon over caramel sauce and serve with thick cream.