Tipsy Tart or Cape Brandy Tart (or dadelpoeding in Afrikaans) is a traditional South African pudding (dessert) that is a great alternative to a Christmas pudding.
Why? It’s pretty quick and easy to make…and the sauce is boozy which is always a win.
A Tipsy Tart is not a tart…but it doesn’t really matter
A tipsy tart is not a tart in the traditional sense of the term. There is no pastry within this dessert. It is similar to a Malva Pudding in that it consists of a sponge base which is then smothered in a sauce while still warm. The main difference is that this tart or pudding is flavoured with dates and can contain nuts.
What You Need for this Recipe
This tart doesn't require any fancy equipment, a 20cm baking dish, a small saucepan, and a small heatproof bowl.
Tipsy Tart Sponge
- Flour - plain, all-purpose, standard grade or cake flour in South Africa
- Vanilla extract
- Baking Soda & Boiling Water - are added to the dates to neutralize the acidic tannins found naturally within the dates. This also releases flavour into the boiling water, which is then used as the major “wet” ingredient in the pudding.
- Baking Powder to give the pudding some rise during baking.
- Dates - are the backbone of this recipe, giving flavour, richness and some sweetness.
- Caster Sugar for sweetness.
- Eggs bind everything together.
Tipsy Tart Syrup
- Brown Sugar adds a rich sweetness to the syrup.
- Brandy gives the syrup a little kick and adds a delightful flavour.
Refer to the recipe card for details.
Salt is a crucial ingredient in all baked goods. I use table salt in all my recipes. One teaspoon of table salt equals 1.5 teaspoons of Morton Kosher Salt equals 2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal.
Brandy or Rum…the choice is yours
This may be a very inflammatory statement and my Ancestors would probably scold me for saying this, but I’ve used rum (just plain dark rum, none of the spiced stuff) when I haven’t had brandy on hand. It works out just fine. Trust me.
Brandy is a very much-loved liquor in South Africa. It is made from distilling wine. What makes South African brandy so good is that it is made in the same manner as French cognac. And considering our history, this makes sense.
Because of the way South African brandy is made it is amongst the best in the world.
Making Tipsy Tart
Grease and prepare 20 cm (8 inches) tart pans. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan while preparing the tart sponge.
Place the chopped dates in a heatproof bowl. Sprinkle the baking soda over the dates and cover them with boiling water. Allow the dates to soak until cool (about 5 minutes).
Beat the butter, sugar and egg together until light and fluffy. Sift together the rest of the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and date mixture to the butter mixture and fold through until combined. Stir through the chopped nuts.
Pour the tipsy tart sponge into your baking dishes. And bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until a skewer or cake tester comes out clean. Poke the tart all over with the toothpick or cake tester.
In the last 5 or so minutes the tart sponge is baking, dissolve the brown sugar in the water on low heat. Bring the sugar-water mixture to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add in the vanilla, butter and brandy. Pour the syrup over the warm tart and allow to cool a bit before serving.
Pro Tips for this Recipe
Weighing ingredients is more accurate than measuring cups overall, and this is my recommendation for my recipes as they are all developed and tested using grams only.
However, I have activated the grams-to-cup conversions on the recipe card. Simply click on "cups" underneath the ingredient list. For these conversions, cups are equal to 236mL/8 fluid ounces, tablespoons are 15mL and teaspoons are 5mL.
Measuring cups and spoons are an essential addition to every kitchen! Especially if you don't use a kitchen scale. Invest in a set to ensure you add the correct ingredients for accurate measuring. When in doubt - always use a level spoon or cup measure.
The temperatures stated are for conventional ovens. For convection, fan-forced, fan-assisted, or air-fryers, the temperature must be reduced by 20°C/25°F, or the gas mark by 1.
For baking, a general rule is to have the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
For best baking results invest in an oven thermometer, as the temperature dials on the oven may not be accurate. Place the thermometer in the middle of the center rack for the most accurate results. I hang my oven thermometer off the center of my oven rack.
Keep in mind that all ovens work slightly differently and bake times may need to be adjusted slightly for your specific oven.
Make the syrup in the last few minutes of the bake. This syrup must be poured over the tart while it is still warm. The syrup is absorbed completely into the pudding, at first, it may seem like it is too much but trust the process.
This pudding can be made the morning of, or the day before an event, complete from beginning to end, including adding the syrup.
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Tipsy Tart (Cape Brandy Tart)
Tipsy Tart Sponge
- 125 grams pitted and chopped dates
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 125 grams boiling water
- 60 grams butter
- 110 grams white / caster sugar
- 2 eggs medium - large
- 150 grams plain or standard grade flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans optional
Tipsy Tart Syrup
- 110 grams brown sugar
- 15 grams butter
- 180 grams water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ - ½ cup brandy or rum
Tipsy Tart Sponge
- Grease and prepare 20 cm (8 inches) tart pans.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/355F/Gas Mark 4 while preparing the tart sponge.
- Place the chopped dates in a heatproof bowl. Sprinkle the baking soda over the dates and cover it with boiling water. Allow the dates to soak until cool (about 5 minutes).125 grams pitted and chopped dates,1 teaspoon baking soda,125 grams boiling water
- Beat the butter, sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy.60 grams butter,110 grams white / caster sugar,2 eggs
- Sift together the rest of the dry ingredients.150 grams plain or standard grade flour,1 teaspoon baking powder,½ teaspoon salt
- Add the dry ingredients and date mixture to the butter mixture and fold through until combined.
- Stir through the chopped nuts.½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- Pour the tipsy tart sponge into your baking dishes. And bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until a skewer or cake tester comes out clean. Poke the tart all over with the toothpick or cake tester.
Tipsy Tart Syrup
- In the last 5 or so minutes the tart sponge is baking, dissolve the brown sugar in the water on low heat.110 grams brown sugar,180 grams water
- Bring the sugar-water mixture to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat
- Add in the vanilla, butter and brandy. Pour over the syrup over the warm tart and allow to cool a bit before serving.15 grams butter,1 teaspoon vanilla,⅛ - ½ cup brandy,1 teaspoon salt
- Serve tart warm or cool with custard, cream or ice cream.
Nutrition information is an estimate, accuracy of nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly.
Can you cook the pudding in advance? If you do, should you leave the syrup until it’s time to reheat the pudding?!
You can definitely make the pudding the day before and event from start to finish, including adding the syrup as it comes out the oven and then just reheating the next day. I have made both this pudding and the Malva pudding the day before, or the morning of an event and served it after dinner with and without reheating.
Hi Mary-Lou, should a tipsy tart be kept refrigerated if it's not going to be eaten within a day or two, and for how long can it be kept without refrigeration?
I would definitely keep it in the fridge, preferably covered with cling film (plastic wrap) or reusable beeswax wrap, for up to 4 days, once it has cooled down. Personally, I have kept a tipsy tart in the microwave (due to space limitations) for about a day/day and a half. But with any food item, it is safer to store them cold.
Jennifer Zeiss says
Are you South African ?
Yes I am!
will the batter fit into a 23 or 24cm round pie dish? otherwise I also have a 29x20xm rectangle dish. Thanks so much
The round pie dish should work just fine. Just check on the doneness of the tipsy tart 5-10 minutes before the recommended baking time to make sure it doesn't overbake.