Sunday, 28 September 2008

Lumberjack cake

Two things to address straight off regarding this cake:
1. No one seems to know why it’s named after lumberjacks
2. It is impossible to make this cake without Monty Python’s [] Lumberjack song playing in your mind on an endless loop. If you haven’t seen it here it is, if you have – watch it again – it’s still funny:

For a plain looking cake there’s really quite a lot going on here; this cake is all about flavour. The apple gives acidity and moisture, the dates provide wonderful texture and a toffee sweetness, and the buttery, caramelised coconut topping adds crunch and depth of flavour. It’s an embarrassment of riches!

Just how juicy does this look:

The cake has many elements of sticky toffee pudding i.e. the dates and the caramel sauce used in the topping, but then ups the ante and provides a tropical element with the coconut. The best description I can conjure to help you imagine the taste and texture of this, is to say it’s like a tropical bread pudding.

There is something about dates simmering in a pan that is always a joy – I think it’s partly the warm toffee aroma that’s produced:

One tip re: serving this cake; the texture is dense and the flavours are intense so I heartily recommend that you serve some cream with the cake to lighten it. Trust me – it takes it to a whole other level of pleasure!

As the cake is so moist it does start to sink a little on cutting; don’t worry – just think of all that delicious flavour the cake must contain!

For the cake:
200g dates, pitted and chopped (200g is the weight you want after taking the stones out)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
230g caster sugar
1 egg
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 granny smith apples (any tart eating apple will work), peeled, cored and grated
125g plain flour
60g self raising flour
Optional: Icing sugar to dust, before serving

For the topping:
75g unsalted butter
60g light brown soft sugar
35g dark brown soft sugar
80ml milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
60g shredded coconut (I couldn’t find this, so used flaked coconut that I chopped up a bit finer)

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line a 20cm round springform cake tin.
- Put the chopped dates in a saucepan along with 250ml of water and bring to the boil. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda (the mixture will froth up like mad) and put to one side to cool.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla.
- Stir in the dates (with all the liquid) and grated apple. Don’t worry if you have an extremely ugly batter at this point – mine would definitely not have won any beauty contests!
- Fold in the flours until combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the topping: put all the topping ingredients into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is well combined.
- When the cake has baked for 40 minutes, remove from the oven and gently spoon the topping onto it. Make sure that the topping evenly coats the cake and then return it to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. NB. The cake is wobbly even when cooked so rely on your skewer to tell you when it’s done. Mine required 67 minutes in total.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. It is best to let the cake cool completely before removing it from the tin. Even then, I still found that mine sunk a little when I transferred it from the tin.
- If required, dust with icing sugar just before serving. I served it with thick cream.
- The cake will keep for several days in an airtight container – no need to refrigerate.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Cakelaw said...

This cake looks superb - a true king among lumberjack cakes. I had never heard of this cake until a couple of years ago when it was on sale at my workplace cafeteria, and I have been in love with it ever since.

Hippolyra said...

Oh my! What a cake. I think I shall have to bake one to eat when watchng the next episode of Axemen!

Joanna said...

my mouth is practically watering just looking at this cake. dates are one of my favorite foods! this cake reminds me of one i made called the "crater cake." it's pretty much a really sweet, dense, chocolate cake with coconut. It's the best cake i have EVER had. no lie. i really have to try this one!

glamah16 said...

Thats "real mans type of cake". All great elements.

Dee said...

I've never had something like this before. Is this even possible?

How was your holiday, by the way? And pardon the stupid quesion, but how do you get a video to show on your blog (instead of just linking it)?

Katie said...

Never tried this cake but it look fab. LOVE the monty python link, its still good, no matter how many times you watch it :)

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Dee

My holiday was lovely, thanks.

To get the video rather than just link to it, go to youtube and select the clip you want. You will notice (in the top right area of the screen) there is something labelled "embed" with some code after it (it's under the URL box) - copy and past this code into you post and...voila! Video screen!

Hope this helps

Rosie said...

Oh my goodness what a wonderful moist looking cake C.C.

Rosie x

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I've never heard of lumberjack cake but this looks like a sinful treat! I wish I had your creativity in the cake department--I always get stuck on chocolate cake.