Sticky Toffee Cake

At the end of last month I promised you the recipe for my Halloween Bake-Off winning Sticky Toffee Cake…so here it is!

This is a bittersweet post actually. Sweet in that myself, my family and all the lovely people who’ve tasted this cake have licked up every last crumb and blob of icing with feverish adoration. Bitter in that when I baked this batch yesterday, I didn’t get to eat any…

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“Sticky Toffee” is usually a phrase we hear or utter shortly before tucking into a dense, sweet and heavy pudding smothered in hot toffee sauce and either cream or custard. Though this can be utterly delightful on cold nights or after a delicious meal, there are times that one needs the comfort of a rich toffee flavour without the commitment of a sugar crash and a lie down afterwards.

This rustic cake really fits the bill. It has all the dark, rich toffee flavour we know and love with the added benefit of being surprisingly light and fluffy. It can be enjoyed equally cold or warm (or tongue-scorchingly hot if you’re like me and get a bit reckless with the microwave reheating!) and when topped with this luscious whipped toffee buttercream, is an absolute delight to eat.

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The best part? It’s dead easy and there’s no need for pudding basins or awkward water-baths, just stick it in the oven for half an hour and you’ll have a stunning cake that tastes much more deep and complex than it is!

I used a rectangular traybake tin and can usually get 15-18 generous squares of cake from this recipe.

First, fill and boil your kettle. Once boiled, pop the teabags into a standard mug and fill it with hot water. Allow this to steep for about 3 minutes while you chop your dates into small chunks.

Look out a small saucepan and tip in your dates followed by the hot tea (not the teabags obviously!), place this on the hob over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until the dates have soaked up all the tea and have formed a thick, dark, sweet-smelling paste. This mixture lends a lot of the moisture and delicious deep flavour to the sponge.

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Set the date paste aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven – 180 degrees for conventional ovens or 160 degrees for fan ovens – and grease and line a medium to large square or rectangular traybake tin. I used a 12×8 inch disposable foil traybake tin from Lakeland, you can buy these here. Lining the tin as well as greasing it ensures the cake will lift out easily without leaving behind any chunks of sponge!

Look out a large bowl and measure in your butter/margarine and both kinds of sugar. Beat these together for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

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Add in the vanilla and crack the eggs in one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition. Don’t fret if the mixture looks like it is beginning to separate, it will all come together when everything else is stirred in!

Once your egg, butter and sugar mixture is smooth and combined, add in the date paste and beat well to incorporate.

Sift the flour, spice (if using) and bicarbonate of soda in to the mixture. Fold this in gently until just combined – you don’t want to overbeat this as you can lose the lovely light texture.

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When fully combined and you have a lovely thick, toffee-coloured cake mixture, tip it into your prepared tin and gently smooth the top. Bake this in the preheated oven until springy to touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

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Don’t be concerned if the cake has a dip in the centre when you remove it from the oven, the moisture from the dates can cause this. It doesn’t affect the texture or flavour whatsoever!

Once you’re happy the cake is baked, allow it to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before removing it carefully and leaving it to cool completely on a wire rack. This is a difficult wait, I understand…patience, children.

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In the meantime, whip up your toffee buttercream!

Grab a large mixing bowl, weigh in your soft butter, the brown sugar and sift in half the icing sugar. Beat this well until combined.

Sift in the remaining icing sugar followed by the golden syrup, vanilla and toffee extract (if using). If you don’t have toffee extract, don’t worry, you’ll still have a delicious toffee icing but if you would like to buy some, here is the stuff I use.

Beat again until combined, adding a splash of milk or more icing sugar if the consistency isn’t quite what you’re looking for. Once combined, use your food mixer, a handheld electric whisk or just a good old wooden spoon to beat the icing vigorously until paler in colour and a lovely light and fluffy consistency.

When you’re happy with the taste and consistency of your buttercream, dollop it onto your cooled cake and spread it generously all over. This recipe makes a decent amount of icing so you don’t have to use it all if you don’t want to. You totally should though.

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If you’d like to top the iced cake with some grated chocolate, toffee sauce or chunks of toffee then go right ahead!

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Once it’s all iced up and beautified, slice your Sticky Toffee Cake into 15-20 slices and get stuck in!

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This cake is fantastic with the toffee buttercream but as an alternative, leave the sponge naked and heat it up in the microwave before pouring over some cream or custard for a real nostalgic sticky toffee treat.

Prize-Winning Sticky Toffee Cake!

Prize-Winning Sticky Toffee Cake!

Deep and deliciously flavoured sticky toffee cake that NO ONE will be able to resist!

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 200g dried dates
  • 2 basic teabags
  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 130g soft light brown sugar
  • 70g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 mixed spice (this is optional, but adds a lovely depth to the flavour of the cake!)
    For the icing:
  • 200g softened unsalted butter
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 250 icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Splash of milk to loosen (if necessary)
  • Toffee extract (optional)

Instructions

    For the cake:
  1. Fill and boil your kettle. Once boiled, pop the teabags into a standard mug and fill it with hot water. Allow this to steep for about 3 minutes while you chop your dates into small chunks.
  2. Look out a small saucepan and tip in your dates followed by the hot tea, place this on the hob over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until the dates have soaked up all the tea and have formed a thick, dark, sweet-smelling paste.
  3. Set the date paste aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven – 180 degrees for conventional ovens or 160 degrees for fan ovens – and grease and line a medium to large square or rectangular traybake tin. I used a 12×8 inch disposable foil traybake tin.
  4. Look out a large bowl and measure in your butter/margarine and both kinds of sugar. Beat these together for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add in the vanilla and crack the eggs in one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.
  6. Once your egg, butter and sugar mixture is smooth and combined, add in the date paste and beat well to incorporate.
  7. Sift the flour, spice (if using) and bicarbonate of soda in to the mixture. Fold this in gently until just combined – you don’t want to overbeat this as you can lose the lovely light texture.
  8. When fully combined, tip the mixture into your prepared tin and gently smooth the top. Bake this in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until springy to touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Once you’re happy the cake is baked, allow it to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before removing it carefully and leaving it to cool completely on a wire rack.
    For the icing:
  1. Grab a large mixing bowl, weigh in your soft butter, the brown sugar and sift in half the icing sugar. Beat this well until combined.
  2. Sift in the remaining icing sugar followed by the golden syrup, vanilla and toffee extract (if using).
  3. Beat again until combined, adding a splash of milk or more icing sugar if the consistency isn’t quite what you’re looking for. Once combined, use your food mixer, a handheld electric whisk or just a good old wooden spoon to beat the icing vigorously until paler in colour and a lovely light and fluffy consistency.
  4. When you’re happy with the taste and consistency of your buttercream, dollop it onto your cooled cake and spread it generously all over.
  5. Finally, slice it and enjoy!
http://maverickbaking.com/sticky-toffee-cake/

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