bits and pieces

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sticky Toffee Cake with a Caramel Vanilla Glaze

Sticky toffee coffee cake! Covered in yummy caramel...
I have adapted this from a cookbook by Bonnie Stern. As I've noted, I have mixed feelings about B Stern's cookbooks, but goddamn this is good cake.

I think the first time I had this was at a (now unsurprisingly ex) boyfriend's place. It was the first time I had met the parents and they already didn't like me. Who knows why, I certainly didn't. Anyway, as the initial dislike disintegrated into straight out rudeness I focused on eating so that I my mouth would be too full to talk back. Regardless of how uncomfortable I was with the situation, I was amazed with his mom's dessert. I'd heard a lot about her culinary prowess, and while I honestly can't remember anything about the actual meal - the dessert was unbelievable.  Unfortunately I had no idea what it was, and was too terrified/full of cake to ask.

Years later I ordered it for dessert unknowingly and realized what I had been coveting all these years. Now I finally have closure, sweet sweet, dessert-y closure.

So this cake is divinely decadent and reasonably easy. Additional bonus points come in from the fact it's not only full of failed relationships, it's full of dates! As we all know, dates are delicious and full of fibre and other good things like potassium. Ergo, this cake is not necessarily the worst cake in the world for you. Also - it only has 1/3 of a cup of butter!

This cake may even save you from terrible boyfriends. You're right, you should make this cake. Immediately. The only downside of this cake is that it takes 75-80 minutes in the oven (!!!), so it's not a quick cake to make.

Prick with a toothpick or fork, and
then cover with caramel while
still hot. It will oooooooze in.

1.5 cups of pitted dates, finely diced
2 cups water
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup butter
1 cup of packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1.5 cups of flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
a small dash of allspice, a small dash of cinnamon, a small dash of nutmeg
a pinch of coffee

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup cream

other things you'll need:
  two mixing bowls
two small pots
a hand held blender or food processor to blend your dates (although if you dice them finely, it's not integral.
a mixing spoon, and a whisk
either a spring form pan or muffin tins - you can make either one big cake or lots of little cakes!
  1. Grease and flour your cake pan/muffin tins and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a small sauce pan, bring the water and dates to a boil. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Slowly beat in your eggs, mixing them in one at a time.
  4. In your other bowl, mix together your flour, baking powder, spices, coffee and salt. Whisk them together.
  5. Alternating, add parts of your flour mixture and then your dates to your eggs and sugar. Slowly fold in the ingredients, mixing carefully - alternating between flour and dates.
  6. Pour or ladle your cake into the pan/tins and bake for about 75 minutes (if you're cooking muffin tins, you'll need to cook it for about 20 minutes). Test with a tooth pick and leave in for longer if necessary. Last time I made it in a cake pan it needed about 85 minutes.
  7. While your cake is baking, mix your caramel sauce! Melt the water and sugar in a small sauce pan. Cook for about 7 minutes until it's just turning golden brown and caramel-y. Add your cream and whisk until combined. Immediately after adding your cream the caramel will almost curdle up. It will fizz and  bubble and ball up. Just keep whisking baby. ALSO - I didn't include it in the ingredients but you can add a splash of vanilla or bourbon to this. Trust me.
    Yummy caramel glaze bubbling
    away. This is the colour you want it
    to be when you add your cream.

  8. Once you bring the cake out of the oven, prick it all over with a fork or something and pour about half your sauce alllllllllllllllllllllllll over. Leave it to sit and soak in. Reserve the last half of sauce. When you're ready to serve, reheat your treats and top your cake with the syrup before serving. Yum yum yum!
Eat ME


  1. Too bad about that mean mama, sounds like you dodged a bullet! This cake on the other hand looks crazy good. I'm a sucker for anything that starts with sticky and ends with toffee.

  2. Haha - agreed! And I got the toffee cake in the end!

  3. Ooooh, the toffee cakes look so good....WANT!