Queen Elizabeth Cake

Right out of the 60’s, this wonderful cake is made with fresh dates. In fact, the batter is quite simple, but the addition of brown sugar with vanilla extract makes for a moist and very tender cake. This is one of the “Ma Tante” cake you would see when visiting families at Christmas time. I recently inherited one of my mother-in-law cookbooks and this one was handwritten….which means it is a keeper. I can assure you, it does not disappoint.


1 Cup Water
1 Cup of pitted, coarsely chopped dates
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 3/4 Cups All purpose flour sifted
1 Pinch Salt
125 Gr. Butter at room temperature
1 Egg
1/2 Cup brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract

Coconut Topping
75 Gr. Butter (5 tablespoons)
1/2 Cup grated coconut
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla extract

Preheat your oven at 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit)
Butter and flour a round cake pan – I use a 8 inch pan –
In a small pan, stir in the dates and water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 3 minutes. Drain the water.
I use a hand mixer for this cake, as it is quite small and easy to manage. Pour the butter with the sugar in a medium size bowl and cream until light and fluffy. (About 2-3 minutes). You will see the butter becomes lighter in color and the sugar has completely dissolved with the butter.
Add the egg and mix again. Stir in half the dates and half of the flour mixture and mix by hand. Alternate with the dates and finally the flour and mix one last time.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool before preparing the topping.

For the topping
In a small pan, melt the butter and once melted, add the sugar and mix well, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the coconut and vanilla extract. Spread over the cake.
Turn on your oven grill and place the cake on a baking sheet. Grill for a few minutes, until golden brown.

Serve it with …. nothing !

When making the coconut topping, melt the butter at very low temperature then add the brown sugar. Take you time and using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly until all the sugar has completely dissolved. This is an important point, just like when making “sucre a la creme” the sugar has to be completely melted, otherwise it becomes grainy and sandy to the tooth… not a pleasant experience. Once all the sugar has melted and the mixture looks like caramel, add the coconut and mix well.

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