Coffee Date Cake

The other day I came across a blog called 1000+ Coffees. This Melbornian guy, Matt, decided to meet up with each of his 1000+ Facebook friends for a coffee as “an exercise in remembering to socialise with and get to know people outside of the ‘book.” He’s 10 months into it now and his most recent blog post showed him having a coffee with friend #67, so there’s quite a few more coffees to go.  I think it would be a great way to reconnect with old friends, keep constantly caffeinated, and of course have a few awkward encounters – you’ve got to love a bit of awkwardness.

After reading about coffee dates I decided to put together a recipe for a coffee date cake, specifically a toffee coffee date upside-down cake. Try saying that one quickly.

What you’ll need:

Upside-down Topping

  • 1 ½ cups pitted dates
  • 1 ½ cups freshly brewed coffee – I used 2x double espresso shots and topped this up with boiling water, but a strong plunger or instant coffee would also do the trick.
  • 50g butter, softened
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup chopped and toasted walnuts


  • 200g butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup plain yoghurt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp instant coffee or more if you want a stronger coffee taste
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water
  • A splash or two of milk

What to do:

  • The first thing that you need to do is prepare your dates. Combine dates and coffee in a bowl and leave them overnight to soak up the liquid.
  • Once the dates are plump and caffeinated you can start to prepare the rest of your cake.
  • Toast walnuts in a pan for a few minutes or until browned.toasted walnuts
  • Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  • Grease the sides of a 20cm non-springform cake tin (see ‘Blooper Box #1’ for a tip).
  • For the topping, evenly spread the small portion of butter over the base of the cake tin and then sprinkle over the brown sugar and salt.
  • Drain your dates over a bowl so that you can save the liquid. Taste it! It is sweet, syrupy, and will be perfect to pour over the finished cake before eating. Arrange the dates on top of the butter and sugar. Set the cake tin aside.Coffee-soaked dates
  • For the cake mixture start by creaming together the butter and sugars until fluffy and lighter in colour.
  • Gradually add the eggs and yoghurt and mix until combined.
  • In another bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Combine the coffee and water, then add the coffee mixture and the butter mixture to the dry ingredients. Gently fold the ingredients together until just combined, adding milk if more moisture is needed.
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the cake tin, over the dates.
  • Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  • Allow your cake to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes and then turn it out onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts.
  • This cake is best served with some yoghurt or cream and a drizzle of that delicious coffee date syrup.


Toffee dates

BLOOPER BOX #1.   I made the mistake of not lining the bottom of my cake tin. So when I turned the cake over the dates decided stick to the cake tin, which to my horror, ripped the topping off the cake. To avoid your cake meeting the same fate, line the bottom of the cake tin with baking paper and put the topping ingredients on top of this.


Coffee date cake

BLOOPER BOX #2.   My original plan was to produce a cake that had caramel flowing over the sides of the cake when the cake was flipped. The outcome: No flowing caramel in sight, but instead the dates were covered in a sticky and chewy toffee – bonus! If you really did want the oozy caramel then I suggest making the caramel first and pouring this on the bottom of the cake tin instead of using butter and sugar for the topping.


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