Happy New Year!
What better way to start off the year than with a sticky caramel cake?
New Years for many is full of resolutions about the sorts of food you will be eating, or not eating, but my resolution in that regard remains the same as always – eat a healthy, balanced diet, enjoy food (including dessert), and make it at home about 90% of the time. My resolution is all about the joy of food – the blessing of having enough of it, of an amazing array of options, of the time to prepare it, of shared time spent around food. Food is a blessing, and I love it.
First on the First is a way to keep ourselves challenged in the kitchen, and this month yet again brought a recipe I knew nothing about. Based on the fact that I say that pretty much every single month when these challenges come around, you can safely conclude that I know very little about many things! I love that these monthly challenges have me googling and stepping out of my comfort zone in the kitchen.
Sticky Toffee Pudding, it turns out, is not pudding at all, which is why I’ve named this Sticky Toffee Pudding CAKE. I don’t like to be tricked, and I felt the name was deceptive. There is sticky toffee involved, and it thickens, but if I ate that toffee sauce straight as a pudding my sweet teeth might fall right out. The homemade caramel sauce was WAY easier than I anticipated, and tastes better than any caramel sauce I’ve ever bought. The cake is traditionally made with dates, and I stuck with tradition. You don’t notice the dates specifically, but they add moisture and sweetness to the cake and are the reason this is also often called Sticky Date Pudding.
This cake was a perfect coffee cake – it serves plenty, and it reheats beautifully. I ate the last slice 5 days after making it and, with a quick reheat to melt the caramel into the cake, it was as good as fresh.
The best way to eat this is with the caramel on top of the cake, everything warm, and then a scoop of cool whipped cream or ice cream on top of that gooey warm cake and toffee sauce. This was one of the easier challenges we’ve encountered with First on the First, I got to make use of my bundt pan, and it’s a recipe I would definitely make again. The caramel sauce alone was worth finding out about this cake! Apparently this is eaten all the time in England and Australia, and for good reason.
Check out the other delicious Sticky Toffee Puddings made by other participants (links below recipe), and see if anyone did make an actual pudding!
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for pan
- 1½ cups chopped pitted dates (about 6 ounces)
- 1¼ cups water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1¼ cups packed brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving
- For cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour bundt cake pan. Bring dates and water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan with tall sides. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda (mixture will foam). Set aside; let cool.
- While that cools, whisk the 11/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
- Beat ¼ cup butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add 1 egg; beat to blend. Add half of flour mixture and half of date mixture; beat until smooth. Repeat with remaining egg and the rest of the flour and date mixtures. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert onto rack, then invert again so it's right way up. The cake keeps well, covered tightly, at room temperature for 5 days.
- TOFFEE SAUCE:
- Bring sugar, cream, and butter to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in brandy, if using, and vanilla. If making ahead, let stand at room temperature and rewarm gently before using.
- Cut cake into wedges. Top cake directly with warm toffee sauce, then top that with cool whipped cream or ice cream...and more sauce if you like :)
*Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, originally from Hunter’s Head Tavern.
Other recipes for Sticky Toffee Pudding:
- Sticky Toffee Pudding by Suitcases & Sweets
- Sticky Toffee Pudding by Food Babbles
- Sticky Toffee Pudding by poet in the pantry
- Breakfast Stout Sticky Toffee Pudding by Go Running, Mama!
- Sticky Toffee Pudding by Omeletta