One of my favourite cold weather desserts is sticky toffee pudding. The recipe I always use is Angela Nilsen’s. Her Ultimate Cookbook is the bee’s knees. She takes quite a scientific approach to the whole baking process which pleases me no end. Her lemon tart is deadly but that’s for another day.
So, working from Ms. Nilsen’s master recipe I made a few alterations to come up with this magnificent beast. Sticky toffee and apple cake with butterscotch sauce. I found the original treacley sauce a little overwhelming for this number and opted, instead, for the fail safe butterscotch sauce I use for everything. I also had a few peculiar apples left over from a recent grocery trip – I’m not sure what variety they are but they are very tart, slightly spongy, reddish eating apples – and I thought they’d make a welcome addition, a slight respite from the comprehensive sweetness of the cake.
I say cake but I haven’t altered the batter recipe so perhaps it’s still a pudding. I chose to consolidate it all into one large bundt cake rather than the suggested individual servings. I feel the bundt shape is necessary if you choose to follow my lead and make a cake, if you used a plain round tin I’m not sure the cake would cook evenly before it dried out and no one wants a dry pudding. A bundt tin is one that results in a ring shaped cake.
Now, you may notice a pair of date cockroaches on the cake but it was Halloween. They are, I suppose, optional but add a certain classy touch I feel.
To the cake.
Oven temperature 180 Celsius
Boiling water 175ml
Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
Treacle 2 tablespoons
Tart eating apples 2 little ones
Full milk 100ml
Self raising flour 175g
Bicarbonate of soda 1 teaspoon
Butterscotch Sauce – I’ve already posted it for the butterscotch icecream so go ahead and click on this link for the full recipe
Preheat the oven and grease a large bundt pan with butter and flour. If you prefer individual puddings then grease 6-8 dariole moulds.
Get a ceramic or glass bowl and, using scissors, chop your dates into it. Each date should end up in about 6 pieces. Boil the kettle and pour the water over the dates. Place an upturned bowl on top and leave to one side.
For the batter put the butter, sugar and vanilla into a big mixing bowl and beat to combine.
Add in one egg. Beat. Add in the second egg. Beat.
Pour in the treacle. This is by far the most complex stage of the recipe. It would have been smart of me to heat my tablespoon in some boiling water before measuring it out, otherwise it takes forever for it to fall off the spoon. So long that you’ll get impatient and start trying to scrape it off with another spoon and then it’ll form sticky strings of irritance and if you are even more impatient, like myself, you may even turn on the mixer before it’s all fallen into the bowl and then the treacle will go everywhere. Stick to everything. Making a hugely annoying mess. So go on and heat your spoon before adding the treacle to the bowl.
To the apples. Peel them and dice them into 1cm cubes.
Back to the batter. Weigh out the flour and stir the soda into it. Add half to the buttery mix and fold.
Add half of the milk and fold.
Add in the rest of the flour and fold.
Add in the rest of the milk and ….. fold.
Find your dates and mash them with a fork then pour them, liquid and all, into the batter, along with the apples and … fold.
The batter is no thing of beauty. It’s kind of grainy, lumpy, runny and questionably brown. But not to worry. Pour it into whichever tin you’re using and put it in the oven.
A single cake will take about 40mins. When it’s done it should be firmish to the touch and a knife should be reasonably clean having stabbed the cake. Little puddings should take less time, maybe 30mins.
When it’s cooked take it out of the oven and let it cool down for at least 20mins. After this time turn it upside down onto a cooling wrack.
Make the sauce as per the icecream recipe I posted before.
Now pour one third of the sauce into the bundt pan and, very carefully, place the cake back in on top of the sauce and let it sit there getting more delicious. Preferably you should leave it for a few hours but for as long as you fancy should be fine. 20mins before serving reheat it in the oven at 180 Celsius, then turn out onto a pretty plate and serve with the leftover sauce and vanilla icecream (and date cockroaches if you have the time).