Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Spiced coffee, date and pomegranate loaf

A while ago, I bought some pomegranate molasses. It was so long ago I'm now no longer able to remember what I bought it for but it had been languishing lonely in my cupboard for some time, so when I happened across this Karen Martini recipe in the Sydney Morning Herald, I knew I had to make it. But not just because of the pomegranate molasses. The list of ingredients sounded intoxicating - orange, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, sesame seeds, dates... all the flavours of the Middle-East combined in a cake. 

Dark, dense and deliciously sticky, this is a Middle-Eastern take on the traditional date loaf (if you want a recipe for that, go no further than Elizabeth's). The pomegranate molasses shellacked glossily on top gives a tart kick that balances the sweetness of the cake, blends beautifully with the spices, nuts and fruit within, and adds a touch of glamour and mystery to what would otherwise be a pretty plain looking loaf. If you don't have any pomegranate molasses in your cupboard, head to your nearest Middle-Eastern food store and pick up a bottle. Or two. Once this is in your repertoire, you'll need them.  

Spiced coffee, date and pomegranate loaf
Adapted from a recipe by Karen Martini in the Sydney Morning Herald

Both times I've made this I've made a smaller loaf by halving the amount of ingredients. This means it cooks for closer to 30 minutes than 45. I used dried dates but I'm sure it would be just as good - if not better - with fresh too.

320ml freshly brewed coffee
1 orange, zest only, finely grated
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, freshly crushed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
125g brown sugar
80g butter
180g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
180ml pomegranate molasses
2 eggs
120g walnuts, plus extra handful to garnish
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
230g wholemeal (wholewheat) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

1. Line the base and sides of a large loaf tin.
2. In a large saucepan, add the coffee, orange zest, spices, sugar, butter, dates and 100ml of the pomegranate molasses. Bring to the boil, take off the heat and leave to cool.
3. Preheat the oven to 160 deg C fan-forced or 180 deg C conventional.
4. Beat the eggs til frothy , then mix into the cooled liquid. Stir in the walnuts and sesame seeds. Add the flour and baking powder and mix to combine, then pour into the prepared loaf tin. Sprinkle over the extra walnuts.
5. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out almost clean.
6. Cool in tin for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Spike with a skewer about six times and slowly pour over the remaining pomegranate molasses. Store wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container.


  1. This looks amazing. Karen Martini's recipes are usually foolproof too.

  2. Love it so much.I made it last week and it turned up really good, everyone at my home loved. I will definitely make it again and again. Thank you so much for the amazing recipe. It's a keeper.

  3. Hello Alice,
    It's me again, Wendy of Brookfield and Book Club. I made the spiced coffee, date & pomegranate loaf this week. Big success! Ate it with friends, some of whom knew your dear mother. I've been spreading the word about your fabulous blog and how the cakes are delicious and always work. Today I cited you on my blog at, along with a photo of the gorgeous loaf. (It's not a cooking blog though). Many thanks, dear Alice.

    1. So glad you liked the cake Wendy. Thanks for the support. Loved your blog post.

  4. Hi Alice. Baking this this this afternoon. Excited about the process as going to make my own pomegranate molasses with a friends fresh pomegranates.Will let you know how it goes.ali

  5. Oh wow. Have just had a little taster while still a bit warm. Wow. I think this one is definitely the most amazing tangy sweet cake I have ever tasted. Absolutely love this one. Ali