1.Position oven shelves; preheat oven to 160°C. Line base and side of deep 20cm-round cake pan with 3 thicknesses of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above edge of pan.
2.Beat butter, cheese, sugar, eggs, flours and brandy in large bowl on low speed with electric mixer until ingredients are combined. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth and changed in colour.
3.Using wooden spoon, mix in dates and peel. Spoon mixture into prepared pan, level surface of cake mixture with wet metal spatula.
4.Bake cake about 1½ hours. Cover cake loosely with foil during baking if it starts to overbrown.
5.Brush hot cake with extra brandy. Cover pan tightly with foil; cool cake in pan.
6.When cake is cold, and just before serving, decorate if desired by cutting a star shape out of paper; centre paper star on cake then dust top of cake with sifted icing sugar, before carefully removing paper star.
If both butter and eggs are at room temperature, this will help prevent the mixture from curdling. Storage: remove cold cake from pan, wrap cake tightly in plastic wrap to keep airtight, then in foil. Wrapped cake can be kept in a cool dark place for about 2 weeks; however, if the climate is humid, keep the cake in a sealed plastic bag or tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.