Like most mamas I know, this Spice Cake is a little nutty, fruity and well-deserving of a little alcohol to help cope with the trials and tribulations of looking after children — perfect for a Mother’s Day treat! The alcohol is kept at a bare minimum (only used in the syrup for drizzling at the end which you can simply omit) but feel free to add a dash of good rum in the wet ingredients, should you require a little more oomph! If your kids are clambering to help you in the kitchen, there’s plenty for them to do from mixing to measuring to smashing the nuts, so make use of little hands and save yourself some work!
This makes one absolutely enormous cake, which I bake in a large bundt tin, but you can also separate into loaf tins for individual portions. If you want to make it extra special, whip some cream cheese icing with a tub of plain cream cheese, a few tablespoons of icing sugar and rose or orange flower water. Spread the icing on top or cut the cake in half and slather down the middle. When you’re finished, call some girlfriends over and serve it up for a delicious Mother’s Day afternoon tea!
Mama’s Spice Cake
3 cups cake flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup creme fraiche (can substitute yoghurt, fromage frais or buttermilk)
1/2 cup canola oil or 2/3 cup butter, softened
2 tsps ground allspice
2 tsps ground cardamom
100g chopped walnuts
100g pitted dates, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
3 tbsps orange flower water
3 tbsps Cointreau
1 tbsp icing sugar
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C, and grease your cake or bundt tin. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt and mix well.
2. Make a well in the centre, add the butter and mix well. Then add the beaten eggs and other wet ingredients.
3. Stir in the nuts, raisins and dates. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Check to see if the cake has baked through by inserting a tooth pick. If it comes out clean, it’s ready.
4. Mix the orange flower water, icing sugar and Cointreau together. Remove the cake from the oven when it’s done, and gently poke some holes with a skewer while the cake is still warm. Pour the syrup over so it seeps into the holes. Leave the cake to cool before inverting it onto a plate. Enjoy!