CHEW THIS! Sticky Toffee Date Cake

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday December 9th 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman. This column also appeared in “The Shelbyville News”.

My Absolute Favorite Dessert!
Blaise Doubman

I know I develop and share a lot of dessert recipes but trust me when I tell you that this is by far one of my favorites. Or, perhaps, my absolute favorite! The flavor profiles of this dessert by far reach anything I could possibly put into words. If you are familiar with the classic English dessert, Sticky Toffee Pudding, then you know exactly what I am talking about. Well, in a sense. This is an “Americanized” version if you will, with no raisins and an even richer glaze. My first introduction to this cake, and it’s flavors, was when, several summers ago, “Ben and Jerry’s” ice cream came out with a seasonal flavor called, “Sticky Toffee Pudding”. It was a vanilla ice cream with chunks of sticky toffee pudding and ribbons of toffee sauce. Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds, yes, I bought several pints and yes, I gained a lot of weight that season. Ha! But it was worth it. Thankfully, the company discontinued the flavor and it just ran for a few months.

After my first introduction to the flavor, I searched it out for years and did lots of research. I found there to be hundreds of different variations of the dessert, but they all contained about the same basic flavor profiles. Which, believe me, was not a bad finding! I experimented with several recipes over the years but found them difficult and lacking the ease and simplicity of a recipe that I felt comfortable in sharing with everyone. Finally, the recipe I am sharing today, checked all the boxes I was looking for. It is easy, delicious and only requires ingredients that can be found in your pantry or easily located in your local grocery store. This cake is simply showstopping. It is the perfect dessert for sharing with others, or simply saving for yourself. The longer this cake sits, store covered at room temperature, the moister it becomes. You can serve it alongside whipped cream if desired or leave it simply plain in all of it is glory. Whatever you do, follow this recipe exactly. Baking is a science, and this is very obvious in this recipe because the amounts of baking soda and baking powder called for here are essentially important. Without the proper amounts, this cake simply will not work. So, follow the recipe ingredients and steps exactly as written. As always, if you make this, contact me through the contact form on my website, trailblaise.com and let me know your thoughts! I love hearing from my readers!

Sticky Toffee Date Cake

If desired this can be served alongside whipped cream. Beat together 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream with 2 teaspoons sugar and splash of pure vanilla extract. Beat with wire whisk until soft peaks form.

For the cake…
2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
1 3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

For the glaze…
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

Combine the prepared dates and water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda.

In a large bowl cream together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth in texture and light in color.

Beat in the large eggs, pure vanilla extract and salt.

Add in the white all-purpose flour and beat everything together well.

Slowly add in the date mixture to the batter while beating.

Stir in the baking powder.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze by combining the unsalted butter, lightly packed light brown sugar, heavy whipping cream and salt in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.

Bring to a boil. Stir and allow to boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in the pure vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into a glass measuring cup to cool slightly.

When the cake is done baking, remove from oven and poke holes all over the top with a toothpick. Pour about 1/4 of the glaze onto the cake and allow to soak in. Wait about 20 minutes and pour over another 1/4 of the glaze. Spread and smooth out evenly.

Wait about 5 minutes before carefully flipping the cake out onto a plate.

Poke the cake with toothpicks all over again, on this new side and pour the remaining glaze over in batches. Coax the glaze into the cake with a spoon.

Serve and enjoy!

Ask and Answer: I have been getting questions about air-frying and I wanted to take the time to address a couple of the most popular questions. First, many of you wonder if there is a cookbook I would recommend for air-frying. Yes, there is! Paula Deen has the best air-frying cookbook called, “Paula Deen’s Air Fryer Cookbook”, as well as one from America’s Test Kitchen called, “Air Fryer Perfection”. Both are extraordinary cookbooks for those with air-fryers. Another question I have been getting is about the brand of air-fryer. Honestly, most brands are about the same as far as power but capacity is what is different and needs to be looked at.

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