NQN’s Lumberjack Cake

Kulinary Adventures of Kath and I share a mutual love of baking, and about a month or so ago she presented me with a beautiful slab (at the gym, of all places) of what I would later learn was called ‘Lumberjack cake’.

This recipe is an original recipe from Lorraine Elliot’s blog Not Quite Nigellaand she was more than happy for me to blog about it when I asked. A deliciously easy cake that’s perfect for winter – it’s moist and not too sweet, and topped with gorgeous maple butterscotch coconut, it leans a little on the more ‘older-fashioned’ type of cakes that are out and about. A slab of this is simply heaven with a hot cup of tea.


You will need:

  • 1 + 1/2 cups Granny Smiths apple (approximately 2 apples peeled, cored and chopped);
  • 1 cup/135g pitted dates, chopped (I may recommend using another 1/2 cup as mine somehow disappeared in the cake);
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda;
  • 1 cup boiling water;
  • 2 eggs;
  • 1 cup caster sugar;
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil;
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste;
  • Pinch of salt;
  • 1 + 1/2 cups plain flour;
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.

For the topping:

  • 70g butter;
  • 4 tablespoons cream;
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar;
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup;
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste;
  • 1 + 1/2 cups shredded coconut or moist coconut flakes (I used the latter).

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease and line a round 9 inch springform tin with baking paper. In a bowl, place the chopped apple, dates, bicarb and boiling water. The bicarb will fizz a little. Allow to stand for 10 minutes making sure that the fruit just sits in the water.


In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil with an electric beater for three minutes.

IMG_9250Add the apple and date mixture, including the water, to this mix and fold to combine. Then fold through the salt, flour and baking powder. Fold gently until it is completely mixed. The batter is quite runny so if you’re afraid your cake pan may leak, put it on a baking tray so that it saves you cleaning the bottom of the oven later.

IMG_9253Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

IMG_9259While the cake is baking, make the absolutely-to-die-for coconut topping. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter along with the cream, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Once all melted and it becomes a rich, caramel-coloured sauce, add the coconut. I used flakes instead of shredded coconut as shredded coconut has a tendency to stick in your throat at times…

IMG_9254When the cake is done, take the tin out of the oven and then spread over the topping, reaching to the edges. Place in the oven and bake for another 2 minutes until the topping is fragrant and golden.


IMG_9265Normally cakes tend to taste the best on the day they are made, but I found that the beautifully soft and moist insides became more flavoursome and the syrup from the topping infused into the cake itself. The topping became a little less crunchy over the next couple of days, but it made the cake easier to slice.

IMG_9270What a great and simple recipe to add to the collection! Many thanks to Lorraine for this amazing recipe! xx

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tina @ bitemeshowme says:

    this cake looks divine. could do with a slice right now! 😀

    1. So could I actually…must…resist…temptation…to bake!!

  2. I was dying to read your story Cath and what a beautiful job you did!! I’m so honoured that you and Kath made my cake. Great to know that coconut flakes work too! 🙂 xxx
    Ps I love that she gave it to you at the gym, that’s the kind of thing I would do too 😉

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