This is a cake I’ve been looking forward to making for a while now, and it’s finally come up in the rotation in the Heavenly Cake Baker’s group. As a kid, I seriously disliked most Christmas “pudding” types of desserts, though I always loved the sauces that go with them. I think for me, it was a perceived association with fruitcake, which I still dislike to this day, though I’ve since gotten over my dislike for Christmas pudding. Friends of my parents who have become good friends of mine used to make Christmas pudding every year. They would even send it across 2 provinces in the mail to New Brunswick on occasion to get it to my family years when we couldn’t make it to Ontario for Christmas for whatever reason. Anyway, this week’s cake is “Sticky Toffee Pudding”. It’s made with pureed dates, so you don’t get any chunks of fruit in the cake (which is the part I used to dislike). Also, it contains beer, which is never a bad thing. 🙂
More specifically, mine contained Waterloo Dark beer. The recipe called for stout, but since we keep Waterloo Dark in stock, and we really like it, I figured it couldn’t hurt.
Start by bringing the beer to a boil, which smells terrible, no matter how tasty the beer is when it’s cold. Pour it over the dates. I mis-weighed the dates at the Bulk Barn, so I didn’t have quite enough to make 170g, so I added a couple of apricots and a few raisins. I figured it couldn’t hurt. After the mixture cools, puree it in the food processor.
Unlike most of the butter cakes in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, this one has a standard cake mixing procedure: Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, then add flour mixture alternately with more liquid, mixing as little as possible after each addition.
I honestly found the stand mixer to be more of an annoyance than a help after the first couple of additions, because the flour mixture would get caught in the middle of the whisk attachment, and never actually mix into the rest of the batter, so I ended up doing the final couple of mixing steps by folding them in by hand with a spatula.
I think this is the first sheet cake we’ve baked from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, and I discovered that what I thought was a 9×13″ pan is actually about 10×13, so my cake came out a little thinner than it should have. It took about 25 minutes total to bake.
Next, make the toffee sauce. Since I wasn’t planning on serving this right away, I waited until after the cake was out of the oven and I’d taken care of a few other things before starting on the toffee. Rub vanilla pod seed goo into sugar, melt it with butter.
Then add heavy cream and lemon juice. The lemon juice was an unexpected twist, but it really cut the sweetness and richness in an amazingly delicious way. I decided that creme fraiche and toasted pecans would just be gilding the lily.
This is the product of my Sunday afternoon.
This is the treat I got to enjoy after supper.
I brought the remainder of the cake into work today, and everyone loved it — the sauce especially got rave reviews. One of my co-workers decided he’d only have a quarter of the piece… then had another quarter… then another one… 😉
PS: I think the leftover sauce will be perfect on vanilla ice cream, don’t you?!