Australian Lumberjack Cake

Australian Lumberjack Cake! This rich, moist cake is loaded with dates & apples and is honestly unlike any other cake you have ever tried!

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Has ANYONE else ever heard of Australian Lumberjack Cake? Once upon a time in my early food blogging days, a friend from high school sent me a message and asked ” If you ever come across a recipe for Australian Lumberjack Cake, let me know.”  I did a little bit of research on the web, found absolutely nothing (remember, this is probably 12 years ago when the internet still was a burgeoning force when it came to recipes) and tucked that little nugget into the back of my head for a later date.

a slice of Australian Lumberjack Cake in a white plate on a blue background
Australian Lumberjack Cake

Now, first things first. Has ANYONE else ever heard of Australian Lumberjack Cake?

No one has ever known what I was talking about when I mentioned this recipe ( except my friend that had actually lived in Australia for many years) so when I was thinking of a recipe that would make a great idea for a food video that would teach people a NEW recipe, this one popped right into my head.

In all of my cake tasting years ( and oh have I tried cakes!) I have never come across something that has this flavour combo. The apples and dates are vaguely reminiscent of a date pudding but not close enough because once you throw that that broiled coconut topping on top?

Sweet Lord above. This is now Mike’s favourite cake, no word of a lie.

close up Australian Lumberjack Cake on a plate and on a baking dish with an apple on the side

I can’t call it plain, but it is a plain cake. It doesn’t have this flavour that punches you in the mouth but is a delicate apple and date delight perfectly foiled by that coconut topping.

Sigh.What I am trying to do here is describe the flavour of a cake that is brand new to me and I’m just not doing it justice. So much for being a wordsmith.

showing the inside of Australian Lumberjack Cake in a white plate

You have to try this cake to actually see what I am talking about. The Australian Lumberjack Cake is moister than any cake mix cake you are going to find but light as a feather.  The coconut broiled topping is where most of the sweetness lies in the cake and it’s simply perfect in every way.

So thank you to my friend Lori for living in Australia and asking me to make this cake. Sorry it took me about 6 years. You guys should thank her as well, because once you try this cake, you are going to keep dates, coconut and apples in your house at all times. Guests? This is the recipe that everyone is going to ask you for because like I said, you haven’t really tasted anything like this cake before.

Happy Baking. Make this cake!



Australian Lumberjack Cake

Australian Lumberjack Cake! This rich, moist cake is loaded with dates & apples and is honestly unlike any other cake you have ever tried!
5 from 20 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 cup peeled chopped apple
  • 1 cup dates diced small
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Topping
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup sweetened  shredded coconut


  • Combine apples, dates, baking soda and water in a medium sized bowl. Allow to cool to lukewarm.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 °F.
  • Grease an 8×8 pan.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and vanilla and beat well.
  • Sift flour and salt, beat in alternately with apple mixture.
  • Pour into the pan and bake for approximately 1 hour or until cooked.
  •  Make the topping by combining butter, sugar, milk and coconut and use the microwave or the stove top to melt the ingredients together.
  • Spread over the hot cake and return to oven for a further 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 413kcal, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 401mg, Potassium: 188mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 45g, Vitamin A: 465IU, Vitamin C: 0.6mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1.4mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Australian Lumberjack Cake! This rich, moist cake is loaded with dates & apples and is honestly unlike any other cake you have ever tried! #cake #Australian #apples #recipe

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Karen Arlene Price says

    Hello, I’ve made this twice and it’s delicious but my cake always turns out much darker! Why?

  2. Lori says

    Well, this is serendipitous.
    I was walking out of the farmers market today with a bag of carrots – and had the hugest urge to make a lumberjack cake (but in my brain there are carrots and pineapple in it as well now?) – thinking back to when I lived on a catamaran sailing in the Whitsunday’s, emailing a high school friend about a if they ever find or do a recipe for a cake called a … and to the google.
    First result – your amazing page.❤️

    Amazing – I’ll be baking this tonight & so glad to see you’re doing so well! 💕

  3. james says

    Made this on Mother’s Day absolutely delicious. Thanks so much.5 stars

  4. Maria says

    My recipe is very close yours. I add one egg and two egg yolks.
    My husband loves this cake and gets disappointed if I don’t make it very week.
    Another favourite of his is Banana and Prune cake.

  5. wendy inglis says

    I have been making this for about 20 or more years Was popular back in the 80s and 90s I am in Australia and it has become quite a popular cake along with the Hummingbird cake

  6. Wanda says

    This is the closest thing I can find to a cake I grew up with. It was a handwritten recipe in my mom’s box called “German Raw Apple Cake.” I can’t find that one anywhere online either. The measurements, method, and even baking times are identical, but there are a few ingredient swaps. It uses only brown sugar, honey instead of dates, and buttermilk instead of water.

  7. Carson W. says

    My version with a few added ingredients.Wonderful cake however you make it.

    1 Cup peeled, chopped Apple
    3/4 Cup chopped Dates
    1/2 Cup Raisins
    1/2 Cup chopped Nuts
    1 tsp. Baking Soda
    1 Cup Boiling Water

    1/2 Cup Butter
    1 Cup White Sugar
    1 Egg
    1 tsp. Vanilla
    1 1/2 Cups Flour & 1/2 tsp. Salt
    sifted together

    3 Tblsp. Butter (Melted)
    1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
    3 Tblsp. Milk
    2/3 Cup Shredded Coconut

  8. Mary says

    Hi Karrlyn I live in Australia and only two days ago while out with a friend for coffee die I see Lumberjack cake on the menu- and to our delighted surprise it had dates and a coconut topping!!Neither of us had ever seen or heard of this before- we are both mums in our sixties. I’m popping one in the oven as soon as possible!

  9. Frances says

    I live in Australia and the Lumberjack cake has been attributed to the lumberjacks who came out from Canada to fell trees (in Qld??). However, once they saw the snakes here, they left and went back home.

  10. Kay says

    I was given a recipe for “lumberjack squares” by a neighbor in New Brunswick, Canada back in the early 1980s. It’s been years since I made them, so I decided to search online rather than digging through scads of handwritten recipes. This sounds and looks very similar so I’m going to give it a try! (my neighbor wasn’t Australian though!)

  11. Heidi says

    Hi Karlynn! This cake looks amazing and I plan to make it very soon! I have never cooked with dates before and I have no idea what to look for at the store. Are they normally on the baking isle? Do most stores carry them? I truly appreciate your help with my question and I cannot wait to try this recipe. Thank you!

    • wendy inglis says

      Hi Heidi Dates here in Australia are usually found with the dried fruit isle

    • Ken says

      Hello Heidi – I just happened along 5 years later and wondered if you found dates? I would say you can find them in the aisle with prunes or fruit like that. Sometimes they have them with other snacks like nuts or
      Even in a fresh produce section. They look like long oval shiny brown berries, in a way. Hope that you found them!

  12. Sandy says

    What a great cake! So moist and flavorful. And with two of my husband’s favorite ingredients, dates and apples! He says I need to make this cake every week! The only change I made was to bake the cake in an 8″ springform pan and I added 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the topping.5 stars

5 from 20 votes (18 ratings without comment)

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