Monday, 4 April 2016

Sticky Toffee Cake

Here’s a cross between a sticky toffee pudding and a sweet cake. Two layers of date-y sponge, filled with a salted caramel toffee sauce-buttercream, and topped with more salted caramel feathered on top of the cake. It tastes amazing, and will keep for at least a week, provided it’s kept in an airtight tin. 
Also, apologies that the picture is a tad rubbish...I'm having some lighting issues in my house at the moment...I'll improve! If you have any good food photography tips, send me an email - :)

Makes one 20cm cake


For the cake:
  • 200g dates, chopped
  • 240ml weak black tea
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 25g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 160g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt

For the salted toffee sauce:
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 30g butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 125ml double cream

For the buttercream:
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder

To finish:
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 50g walnuts or pecans, optional


1. Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin, and dust the base and sides with flour.

2. In a saucepan add the chopped dates, black tea and bicarbonate of soda. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes until softened. Use a blender to mix the dates/tea into a thick sauce. Leave to one side to cool.

3. Melt the 100g of butter for the cake.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, golden syrup and vanilla together for a few minutes, until all of the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has become pale and slightly thicker.

5. Whisk in the melted butter into the eggy mix. Fold the dry ingredients and pureed dates into the mix until no more flour speckles can be seen. Pour into the prepared cake tin.

6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, and the cake is coming away from the sides of the tin.

7. Whilst the cake is baking, make the toffee sauce. Place all of the ingredients, except for the cream into a non-stick saucepan. Place on a low heat, and stir constantly until all of the butter has melted.

8. Add the double cream (the mix will bubble up a little at this stage), and heat for another 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

9. Once the cake is out of the oven, prick the surface with a fork and pour over around a third of the toffee sauce. Leave the cake to cool.

10. Whilst the cake is cooling, make the buttercream. Cream the butter and icing sugar together. If it is too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. Beat the buttercream until it is smooth but very thick. 

11. Split into two bowls. To the first bowl add 2 tbsp of the reserved toffee caramel sauce, and stir in. If it becomes too loose, add more icing sugar. You want the buttercream to be spreadable (similar to how margarine melts I guess). To the second bowl add a few more drops of boiling water to get the buttercream spreadable.

12. Assemble the cake. Carefully, using a serrated knife, slice the cake horizontally into two even layers.

13. Place the first half on a cake board. Drizzle over around 3 teaspoons of the remaining toffee sauce, then top with the buttercream that had the toffee sauce added to it. Level with a palette knife.

14. Add the second layer of cake. Drizzle over around 3tsp of the remaining toffee sauce, then top with the buttercream that had NO toffee sauce in it. Smooth on the top and down the sides of the cake.

15, Fill a piping bag with the last of the toffee sauce. Cut the bag around 1/2cm up, then pipe horizontal lines across the cake. With a toothpick (or the back of a spoon), run through the horizontal lines, back and forth, to create the feathered pattern.

16. To finish, make caramel by heating the granulated sugar in a saucepan. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. You can swirl the pan, but don’t stir it! 

17. Prepare a tin with baking parchment. Once the caramel is a light brown sugar, take off the heat and add the nuts (optional). Swirl the caramel over the nuts, if using, then pour onto the tray. Leave to cool.

18. Decorate the cake with the caramel shards.

19. Enjoy!

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