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It's the beginning of October and my thoughts go deeper into the Autumn vibe. The English classic pudding Sticky Toffee Pudding, comes to mind. I find the pudding a little too sweet for my tastes but it's a favourite of my husbands. I decided to make it into a cake.
The cake layers are filled with moist, sweet dates that are soaked with a dark, rich toffee sauce in this sticky toffee pudding layer cake.
Traditionally served as squares, this is layered with toffee buttercream and topped with even more toffee.
Before you start, here are a few tips to making this cake.
Make the toffee sauce first.
The sauce needs to be added to the buttercream and drizzled over the cake, so it's best if you can make it the day before you need it.
Everything goes into the pan and is heated over a medium heat. Heat it until everything is melted and has come to a boil, stirring occasionally. Allow the sauce to boil for a further 5 minutes. Once it's stopped bubbling then place in a heat proof bowl to cool down.
If you are not confident enough or simply don't have time, then use a ready made caramel. There are a number available such as Carnation (tinned) or Bonne Maman (jar), they can be found in any supermarket, usually in the jam aisle. They just won't be as dark as the one used in the recipe.
I recommend you make the toffee caramel yourself - it just adds that extra yum you don't get from ready made caramel.
Soak and blitz the dates before you begin making the cake batter.
The dates are generally sold whole with the stones removed already. If you are going to puree them to add to the cake, then you can soak them in just boiled water, with a tsp of bicarb, and leave them whole (they will be blitzed in a food processor).
If you prefer to have pieces evident in the sponge then you can chop the dates before adding the water. I use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut them up, but you can buy chopped dates if you don't want to bother. I cut them myself so that I choose how big the pieces are.
Making the cake.
Use a hand held electric whisk or a free standing mixer. You want to get as much air into the batter as possible and it's much easier to achieve this with a mixer - less arduous on the arms!
I use the all-in-one method for this cake, and most of my other cakes too, just adding the dates at the very end.
Use deep baking tins - I use 4" deep ones from the supermarket.
Assembling the cake.
This cake is made up of 5 layers -
Use a cake board or a nice serving plate to place the cake on.
Place the first cake layer onto the board. Cover with a generous amount of toffee buttercream.
Place the second cake layer on top and repeat the filling.
Place the final cake layer on the top (turning it upside down to give a level top).
Cover the whole cake in a generous layer of toffee buttercream. Smooth it out if you can, leave it if you can't (either looks great).
Put the cake in the fridge for an hour to set the buttercream. Add the caramel drip sauce to the cake using a piping bag to direct the drips where you want them. Cover with the remaining sauce.
Leave it like that or add swirls of the buttercream, if there's any left.
Keeps for 1 week stored in an airtight container. If you don't have one that is big enough simply wrap in a double layer of clingfilm.