It was my Nana’s 87th birthday at the weekend and we never, ever buy birthday cakes, so I offered to make a cake for her. My nan is one of those people who claims not to like chocolate (which we all know is LIES, but whatevs), so that rules out a lot of the cakes I like to make. Fortunately, this cake is just as ace as any chocolate cake.
Be warned though, this cake can turn people mean. I have made this before and Chris and I each had a piece left. Chris ate mine. “I knew you’d be mad”, he said, “but I just didn’t care”. Yeah. He doesn’t even usually have a sweet tooth! That is how good this cake is.
Sticky toffee cake
Adapted from M&S Baking Day (which they don’t appear to sell anymore, so I can’t link)
Cuts into about 16 squares, but some people (*cough*Chris*cough*) eat two per serving
For the cake:
175g/6 oz stoned, chopped dates (I buy them ready chopped)
175ml/6 fl oz boiling water
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
85g/3 oz butter, plus extra to grease
140g/5 oz caster (superfine) sugar
1 large egg
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
175g/6 oz self-raising (cake) flour
100g mini vanilla fudge pieces
For the toffee sauce (note that you will want to make this just before the cake is cooked, so that you can immediately pour it over the cake):
85g/3 oz light muscovado sugar (or light brown sugar)
40g/1.5 oz butter
2 tbsp double (heavy) cream
Preheat the oven to 180C/170C fan oven/350F/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 20cm/8 inch square tin.
Put the dates in a small pan and cover them with the boiling water. Add the bicarb and heat gently for 5 minutes, without boiling, until the dates are soft.
In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg, vanilla extract and date mixture.
Gently fold in the flour until evenly mixed and then carefully stir in the fudge pieces. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes (mine was done after 40 minutes in a 170C fan oven), until the cake is firm to touch and just starting to shrink away from the sides. You want to make the sauce when the cake has been in the oven for about 35 minutes.
To make the sauce, put the sugar, butter and cream in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer gently for about 2 minutes, stirring so that it doesn’t burn at the bottom.
When the cake has cooked, remove it from the oven and prick the surface all over with a skewer or fork. Pour the hot toffee sauce evenly over the top of the cake and leave the cake to cool in the tin.
This cake is amazing served with cream or ice cream, but just as lovely on its own.