Cape brandy pudding (or tipsy tart) revisited

Cape brandy pudding title © J Horak-Druiff 2010

[As I am currently on holiday, this is an edited re-posting of one of the first traditional South African desserts that I ever posted on this blog. ]

It’s a fact – South Africans do like their brandy.  Not so much the sort that is meticulously aged and then consumed in tiny sips from beautiful blown-glass balloons.  No, we seem to have more of a taste for the cheaper stuff (our consumption of Klipdrift is legendary…), preferably mixed with Coca-cola.  In fact, I rememebr my father and mother, who were sophisticated in their tastes in practically every other way, drinking a brandy and Coke before dinner every single Saturday night that I lived at home.

Clearly it’s in the genes 😉


This is a classic South African pudding, confusingly known by at least three names:  dadelpoeding (its Afrikaans name meanind date pudding), Cape brandy pudding, and tipsy tart.  The last one is a misnomer in that it’s not a tart at all…. but it will definitely make you tipsy if you overindulge in the syrup!

Even friends who profess to dislike fruit puddings lick their bowls clean, and it makes a great altrenative to Christmas pudding.  I should know – that’s what I served this year!




Cape brandy pudding (tipsy tart)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This deliciously boozy date pudding with its brandy-laced sauce makes an excellent alternative to traditional Christmas pudding.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: South African
Serves: 6
  • 250g dates, roughly chopped
  • 250 ml water
  • 5ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 200ml caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 250ml plain flour
  • 5ml baking powder
  • 100g pecan nuts, chopped
  • 250ml sugar
  • 120ml water
  • 120ml brandy
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 30ml butter
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease an oven-proof dish.
  2. Combine the dates with the water in a small pot and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Cream together the butter, sugar and egg. Sift the flour and baking powder and add to the creamed mix together with the cooled dates and mix well.
  4. Mix in the nuts and pour into the greased dish. Bake for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean
  5. For the syrup, boil the sugar, water, butter and vanilla essence together until the desired syrupy consistency is reached - anything from 2 to 10 minutes. Add the brandy and cinnamon and mix well.
  6. Serve the pudding with the syrup poured over it and top with some whipped cream (or custard if preferred).


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  1. says

    Oooh I like the name Tipsy Tart! And luscious this pudding does indeed look! Yum! Personally I have the anti-alcohol genes but give it to me in a dessert that looks this delicious and I, too, may just lick the bowl clean!

  2. says

    Delicious Jeeanne! I had an aunt who made the most incredible tipsy tart…I never stopped at only one piece/slice(she baked it in a long pyrex tart pan and cut it into squares) along with peppermint crisp tart, it was my favorite. I could eat till I drop…mind you perhaps it was the tipsy tart that made me drop..
    Now you just have to post a peppermint crisp tart too..

  3. Thea Thomas (Griet`s World) says

    Dear Jeanne.
    Thank you so much for your informative talk(s) on Saturday. Although I am not a “foodie” I learned alot.

  4. says

    This is a favorite my mom makes whenever we go and visit. Thank you for re-posting and make me pick up the phone to say “Hello ma!”

  5. says

    Ooooh yay – thanks for the recipe Jeanne. Never knew it contained dates! Always just called it “tipsy tert” at home. I have a feeling this is going to feature prominently in the next few months…

  6. says

    I hope you’re having a great time Jeanne! I love a good, deeply flavored pud – and dates are just the proverbial icing on this cake!