Warning this substance is highly addictive and in extreme cases consumption may cause hyperactivity and weight gain. But trust me it's worth the risk. This dense, caramel soaked confection is sticky toffee pudding, and I find that since I first had it at Simone's a few weeks ago I've developed a sort of freakish obsession with it.
I actually made this about a week ago, but as the result of various computer related issues, I couldn't post until this morning. I've missed the official SHF deadline, but I'm hoping Debbie will have it in her heart to mention me anyway. Pretty please Debbie, with sugar on top. ;o)
To make this dessert I had to search various recipe sites for one I thought might produce a result similar to Simone's and I decided on this one. I made some changes to the recipe, but sadly at least two of those were a direct result of not reading the recipe completely through. How many times you ask, have I read the golden rule of using a recipe? Apparently not enough times. Okay leave me alone, so I didn't read the recipe, but I did skim through it. That's kind of like reading. Right?
My first mistake was to cream the butter and the margarine with the
sugar. Yes, I did this even after clearly reading the section in the
recipe where it says, 'cream the margarine with the sugar'. The
light bulb finally came on when I was ready to make the toffee sauce and
I had no butter. My realization came too late to save the cake, as it was
already baking away in the oven (oops). The other error I made was to add the
baking soda to the flour mixture and not to the dates.
Again this error was also discovered too late. I arrived at the date
preparation stage and look at that, I had no soda left (oops again).
The other changes I made to the recipe were entirely my choice. No really, they were. Really. I pureed the dates with the water, instead of chopping them to avoid having big chunks of gooey date in the cake. Then once I made the sauce I wasn't totally satisfied with it either. It was too bland and I wanted the sauce to add more flavor to the cake, not only sweetness. I borrowed some ideas from other recipes I'd come across in my travels and added two tsp of whiskey and some molasses (sorry I didn't measure it) to the prepared caramel. This gave it a little more flare.
Once the cake was out of the oven I allowed it to cool slightly before I poked it with holes and poured the caramel over. Using a pastry brush I attempted to spread the sauce around and was successful, at least, in depositing several coarse, spiky pastry brush hairs in the caramel. Aah! After picking out all the stray hairs, I popped the cake under the broiler for a few minutes until the top was all sticky and bubbly.
I probably should have waited until the cake cooled, but the anticipation was much too great. I cut a little corner out and took a bit. Yum. OUCH! Double yum. Dense, moist cake oozing with caramel sauce. It was well worth the 3rd degree burns I suffered to my tongue. The rich flavors in the caramel were a perfect compliment to the fruitiness of the dates.
I would definitely make this again, but it's still not quite what I was looking for. This recipe produced a pudding that was very cake-like in texture, while the one I'm seeking is much more dense and pudding like. I also suspect that Simone's recipe doesn't use dates. The sticky toffee pudding saga continues.