Maverick Life


A showstopper cake to kick off the year – and it’s healthy too!

A showstopper cake to kick off the year – and it’s healthy too!
Image composite: The Reading List

Begin 2022 with some healthy recipe inspiration from Donna Crous’s cookbook A Healthier Family for Life, releasing in South Africa this month.

Author and health coach Donna Crous was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa, where she developed a passion for cooking from a young age. Now based in the UK, she is the creator of the popular blog Eighty20 Nutrition, as well as an award-winning professional food photographer.

A Healthier Family for Life is a practical collection of knowledge and recipes, all about cooking wholesome, healthy food that puts a smile on your loved ones’ faces.

“This book is not only a collection of my family’s favourite recipes, it’s a nod to beautiful fresh produce and the farmers that grow it,” Crous says. “It’s a high five to all the parents trying to create interesting and exciting dishes for their family. It’s an A* for everyone willing to challenge and question what they are being taught about the standard food pyramid.”


Pear and Coffee Loaf 




This is without a doubt a showstopper cake. I just love the chocolatey flavour combination of coffee and pear, accentuated by the malty flavour from the blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses is a dark viscous liquid that is the by-product of the sugar cane refining process. Before you start to panic at the s-word, don’t worry – it’s the good stuff, and it has the lowest sugar content of any sugarcane product. Actually, it has numerous health benefits, because it contains a range of vital vitamins and minerals.

Serve this cake cold, or warmed with non-dairy ice cream or a drizzle of white chocolate sauce. 

Makes 12 portions

  • 2–3 ripe Conference pears (depending on size)
  • 150g almond flour or ground almonds
  • 70g cassava flour
  • 50g raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of pink salt
  • 40g coconut sugar or dry sweetener
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 250ml cold black coffee


Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) Gas 4. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin with baking paper. Test that the pears fit the tin by standing them upright in a row to confirm that they fit comfortably with space around them – you don’t want them to be touching each other

Peel the pears and, leaving them whole, cut off the bases to make them flat so that they can stand upright without wobbling over. 

In a bowl sift together the almond flour, cassava flour, cacao powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and coconut sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses, avocado oil and vinegar.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, then add the coffee. Stir the batter well.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and insert the pears in a standing position in a row, pushing them all the way down to the base. Bake for 40 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the cake part comes out clean and the cake feels springy to the touch. Gently remove from the tin and serve warm or cold. DM/ML

A Healthier Family for Life by Donna Crous is published by Little, Brown (R475). Visit The Reading List for South African book news – including recipes! – daily.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options