Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sticky toffee cake

One of THE foods of Christmas must be the humble date. Big fat juicy medjool dates with the texture of fruit but the taste of toffee – heaven!

I have made a couple of versions of sticky toffee pudding but this is a sticky toffee cake. The difference is that instead of toffee sauce you have toffee buttercream. This is a seasonal cake without being obviously so – a nice option for those who are fed up with fruit cakes and mince pies.

The smell of the dates when you boil them is gorgeous. I made the cake on a freezing cold snowy day but inside my home it was paradise! Here’s the dates when they’ve broken down in boiling water:

Look what happens when you add the bicarbonate of soda – it’s alchemy!

What surprised me most about this cake, was the texture. It was light and spongy – just like carrot cake, but the flavour was unmistakably sticky toffee. It’s quite one of my favourite cakes that I’ve made recently.


For the cake:
225g stoned dates (I used Medjool)
300ml water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g self raising flour

For the toffee icing:
90ml (6 tablespoons) double cream
80g soft light brown sugar
25g unsalted butter
25g golden icing sugar

Optional decoration: toffee nuggets


- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

- Line a 20cm square loose bottomed tin with greaseproof paper.

- Using scissors (I find this the least messy way) snip the dates into pieces – about the size of a small grape.

- Place the dates and the water in a saucepan. Pick a large saucepan because the mix will bubble up considerably when you stir in the bicarbonate of soda.

- Bring the dates and water to the boil and then boil, uncovered for 10 minutes.

- Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda.

- Leave to cool.

- Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, pale and airy. Don’t skimp on this stage.

- Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

- Fold in the flour and the dates.

- Spoon into the prepared baking tin and level the surface.

- Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out virtually clean – it won’t be perfectly clean because of the gooey dates.

- Check the cake 10 minutes from the end to ensure that the top is not burning – the dates can catch. If necessary, cover the cake with foil for the last 10 minutes.

- Leave to cool in the tin until you can comfortably handle the tin and turn the cake out. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

- For the icing heat the cream, brown sugar and butter over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves i.e. you cannot see the granules on the back of the spoon.

- Bring to the boil and cook, uncovered, for 4 minutes until it turns golden. Do not stir. If the mixture darkens too quickly simply remove it from the heat before the 4 minutes is up.

- Leave to cool.

- Beat the icing sugar into the icing until smooth.

- Spread over the top of the cake – you might find this easier with a wetted palette knife.

- Decorate as required.

- Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.


C said...

That looks superb, love the idea of sticky date flavours in a lovely light cake. Yum!

Anonymous said...

am going to have to make this nikki ps could you substitute the double cream with something else, would it keep better without it? nikki

Choclette said...

Mmmm. sounds fab, I love dates. Just made some christmas cupcakes today - now wishing I'd made some yummy datey sticky toffee cupcakes instead of the chocolate ones I actually made.

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Nikki

I wouldn't recommend substituting the cream as it's what give the toffee it's richness. If you're worried about it keeping - I'd say because it's so moist it would keep several days in an airtight tin, but also freezes.

Benmollymoo said...

oooh - yummy one of my favourite puds in cake form! But have never heard of toffe nuggets before (they even look a bit like dates!) Please please - are they easily obtainable?

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Benmollymoo

I bought my toffee nuggets in an old fashioned sweetshop, the kind where they weigh them out from big jars.

A bit of research has found them for sale here - they're called toffee crumble, so sorry for misleading you!

Margaret said...

The cake looks very yummy CC.

Katie said...

This sounds wonderful and dates are certainly very festive. I love how fluffy and moist it looks. Pudding in cake form - I'm sold!

Anonymous said...

made this cake, I love it, could've eaten it all..... did the icing slightly differently and it didnt set presume yours did, but i still really liked it (I added creme fraiche instead of cream and 30g brown sugar instead of the higher amount) but next time am going to try making the icing with cream, i also nearly forgot to add the dates!!! i ended up with a marble effect as i added them when the mixture was in the tin but it was good!!!! nikki

Karine said...

I have never had a toffee cake. It loks amazing! THanks for sharing :)

Cakelaw said...

Ooohhh - I love big fat dates, and this cake looks superb!

fee said...

The toffee cake looks fantastic. I have been searching for a good toffee icing for ages, but it looks like I have finally found it. The Caked Crusader has saved the day once again.

Gloria said...

This look really amazing. I love this and the toffe!!! yummy!


Judy said...

I made this yesterday in a 46 degree heatwave in India for my best friend’s birthday. The cake lasted10 mins after the candles were blown out and the other 2 shop cakes were barely touched. It’s a winner!!!