Recipes, Techniques

South African Tipsy Tart (or Cape Brandy Pudding)

Tipsy Tart is a South African dessert from the Western Cape area that is usually eaten around Christmas. It also goes by the name of “Cape brandy pudding” or “dadelpoeding”, which means ‘date pudding’ in Afrikaans. Usually soaked in a thick brandy syrup, this cake is served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and can make a delicious substitute for the traditional English Christmas cake, the Anglo-Saxons are so fond of…

Tipsy Tart (or Cape brandy pudding)
Tipsy Tart (or Cape brandy pudding)

Let your mind wander to an exotic place as you relish this divinely rich and heartwarming Tipsy tart, filled with dates and walnuts, soaked in golden brown syrup and topped with whipped cream…

This recipe has been passed down in my family, from generation to generation, and as my grandmother handed it to me one Christmas, I couldn’t help but feel honoured by such a precious gift. This cake will never cease to make you smile with delight, and will forever keep you wanting more…


Cost: +++
Difficulty: +++


  • 200g of all-purpose flour
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • A half a teaspoon of baking soda
  • 70g of finely chopped walnuts
  • 250g pitted dates, chopped
  • 250ml of boiling water
  • 120g of butter (softened, not melted)
  • 2 large eggs

For the syrup

  • A few drops of natural vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 130g of caster sugar
  • 240ml of boiling water
  • 350ml of brandy (optional, if you are making a non-alcoholic tipsy tart which in my opinion, is nicer!)

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a deep baking pan and set it aside for later.
Baking time: approximately 50 minutes. / Preparation time: approximately 20 minutes

Tip: Take your time making this cake, it’s not an easy recipe to master correctly.

Pit and chop the dates and sprinkle them with the baking soda. Leave to rest while you finely chop the walnuts. Add the boiling water to the dates and leave to sit for 5 to 8 minutes.

nut and dates before adding to cake mixture
nuts and dates

Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar until light and frothy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well until combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and stir, then add the “dry” mixture to the butter and sugar. Pour the walnuts and dates into the cake batter and fold in gently until well combined. Note: Don’t panic if the cake mixture is quite liquid, this is normal.

cake mixture unbaked
cake mixture (unbaked)

Pour the cake mixture into the baking pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the tip of a knife comes out clean. Note: This cake is light and spongy, and will turn a dark brown during the baking process. It might have to cook a little longer depending on the width of your baking tin.

Tipsy Tart (or Cape brandy pudding)

For the syrup

In a small pot, bring the sugar, butter, and water to a boil. Note: the sugar must be completely dissolved. Add the vanilla essence and leave to simmer for a few minutes on a low heat. Note: You can also add the brandy at this point or leave it out if you are making a non-alcoholic tipsy tart.

Pour the hot syrup over the tipsy tart and let it soak in for a few minutes until the liquid is completely absorbed into the cake. Serve this delicious cake still warm from the oven with a large dollop of whipped cream.

Tipsy tart (or Cape brandy pudding)
Tipsy tart (or Cape brandy pudding)





10 thoughts on “South African Tipsy Tart (or Cape Brandy Pudding)”

  1. First I was affraid to not like the taste of dates because I don’t like it. But in this recipe, it’s really perfect, didn’t mouthfeel a lot. You said me that it was heavy but I didn’t have this sensation. I liked so much walnuts caramelised.
    Really good recipe, even if there’s no brandy. In fact, I think it was better without it.
    I really thank you to let me taste your magical’s pastries.


    1. many thanks for such fabulous comments and feedback, it’s very encouraging!! especially for a beginner! don’t hesitate to write your comments and feedback so other people can see which recipes are the nicest!!

      1. Hello, thanks for your feedback: I have a friend who lives in the States who made this very same cake quite easily, although I don’t know where she got her ingredients from. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate! thanks for following my blog!

  2. I have been making Cape Brand Tart for decades and prick it with a tooth pick prior to adding the alcohol topping. I made two thick ones recently but the liquid did not penetrate. Do you have any tips for me please to solve this challenge?
    I guess that thinner cakes would work better

    1. Hello! I usually use a knife to prick the cake in two different areas and the syrup penetrates easily although even without pricking my cakes absorb it quite quickly. Perhaps your syrup is too thick and sticky? Perhaps a thinner cake would absorb it better? Good luck and thanks for commenting my recipe!

      1. Sincere thanks. Someone said that I should have the cake cold and the topping hot. Both of these are always hot. Any comments on this please

      2. It’s not a bad idea. My cake is never hot when I dribble the syrup. It’s cool. So let the cake cool down and dribble the hot syrup over it and perhaps it’ll drink it up more easily. Let me know if it works.

Leave a Reply to Diego Rubinstein Cancel reply