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Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

The first time I ate Sticky Toffee Pudding cake was during study abroad at the University of Melbourne in Australia.  As you can probably tell from this blog, I love dessert.  It is my favorite part of a meal and I am always ready to try a new one.  At the University, I would eat their desserts after every dinner but typically, I was very disappointed.  Most of the desserts that they served were extremely dry and not very sweet. 

The only dessert that I found palatable was their sticky toffee pudding cake.  This cake was actually moist and sweet from the addition of the dates, it had a toffee sauce that could be poured over the top, and it was finished with a scoop of whipped cream.  After trying this one time, I looked forward to the nights they would serve this dessert and I vowed that when I got back to the United States, I would find a recipe for the cake. 

Fast forward many years to the first time I made this recipe.  I thought it was the most delicious and indulgent dessert a person could eat.  I was absolutely obsessed.  If you like caramel/toffee flavor and moist cake, then you will love this recipe.  I added pecans to the recipe to add a different texture since everything in the original recipe was soft.  I also like to serve it with warm toffee sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Toffee Sauce

Ingredients

Combine half and half, dark brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt into a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. 

Reduce to a simmer and cook the mixture until you have the desired consistency and color.  I prefer a slightly thicker sauce that still flows easily but is not too thin.  It will take between 5-10 minutes of constant stirring to reach the appropriate consistency. 

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool while you make the cake batter. 

Date Cake

Ingredients
Making the Cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Then, grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.  Make sure to thoroughly cover all ridges so the cake comes out easily. 

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, dates, and cinnamon stick.  Unfortunately, the picture I took does not look very appetizing, but I can assure you that it smelled amazing while it was cooking.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  Remove the cinnamon stick from the mixture after it has cooled completely.

Next, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.  Combine the dry ingredients by whisking and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you are using a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is creamy.  Use the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer.  Once creamy, gradually add the brown sugar.  Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). 

Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Make sure to beat well after each addition (i.e., the eggs should be fully incorporated).  Then, add the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with two additions of the cooled date mixture (make sure the cinnamon stick has been removed).  Do not over mix at this point.  Only mix the flour until it is just incorporated. 

Add the pecans (this gives a nice change in texture to the final product) and fold into the batter gently using a spatula.  Scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that all ingredients have been incorporated and then pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan. 

Baking the Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes, until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  If you think you hit a date when inserting the toothpick, choose another spot and test the cake again.  Remove the cake from the oven but leave the oven on.  Use a bamboo skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cake while it is still in the Bundt pan. 

Next, pour approximately 2 cups of the toffee sauce onto the top of the cake.  Try to evenly distribute the sauce across the cake.  Set the remaining sauce aside for serving.  Return the cake to the oven and bake for 5-10 more minutes.  Remove the cake from the oven, set on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. 

Invert the cake (while still warm) onto a serving plate.  It is ideal to use a plate with a lip so that it can catch any sauce that has not absorbed into the cake.  The cake pan might still be quite warm so use pot holders if necessary.  Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar. 

Serve the cake with a scoop of ice cream and toffee sauce. 

Note on reheating toffee sauce: I like to refrigerate any leftover toffee sauce.  Make sure to gently reheat the toffee sauce or else it might split.  This means, if you use the microwave to heat the sauce, only heat it in small 5 second bursts until it can be easily stirred.  I have done this wrong in the past and it is very sad. 

More “Windy City Baker” Cake Recipes

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Ingredients

Toffee Sauce

  • 3 cups (720ml) half-and-half
  • cups (300g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) light corn syrup
  • ½ cup (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • Pinch of salt

Date Cake

  • ½ cup (360ml) water
  • 2 cups (283g) pitted dates, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick (do not use ground cinnamon)
  • cups (302g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • tsp baking soda
  • tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 227g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (180g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125g) chopped pecans (optional)
  • Confectioner's sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions

Toffee Sauce

  • Combine half and half, dark brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly.
  • Reduce to a simmer and cook the mixture until you have the desired consistency and color. I prefer a slightly thicker sauce that still flows easily but is not too thin. It will take between 5-10 minutes of constant stirring to reach the appropriate consistency.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool while you make the cake batter.

Making the Cake

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. Make sure to thoroughly cover all ridges so the cake comes out easily.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the water, dates, and cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick from the mixture after it has cooled completely.
  • Next, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Combine the dry ingredients by whisking and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you are using a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is creamy. Use the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer. Once creamy, gradually add the brown sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time. Make sure to beat well after each addition (i.e., the eggs should be fully incorporated). Then, add the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with two additions of the cooled date mixture (make sure the cinnamon stick has been removed). Do not over mix at this point. Only mix the flour until it is just incorporated.
  • Add the pecans and gently fold into the batter using a spatula. Scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that all ingredients have been incorporated and then pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Baking the Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

  • Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes, until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. If you think you hit a date when inserting the toothpick, choose another spot and test the cake again. Remove the cake from the oven but leave the oven on. Use a bamboo skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cake while it is still in the Bundt pan.
  • Next, pour approximately 2 cups of the toffee sauce onto the top of the cake. Try to evenly distribute the sauce across the cake. Set the remaining sauce aside for serving. Return the cake to the oven and bake for 5-10 more minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, set on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.
  • Invert the cake (while still warm) onto a serving plate. It is ideal to use a plate with a lip so that it can catch any sauce that has not absorbed into the cake. The cake pan might still be quite warm so use pot holders if necessary. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar.
  • Serve the cake with a scoop of ice cream and toffee sauce.

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