I absolutely adore homemade caramel. It’s probably one of my most favorite things in the whole entire world. First of all, it’s magical to make. The fact that you can turn boring, old white sugar into a beautiful, caramel syrup is somewhat of an anomaly. Well there is science behind it but we won’t get into that.
And the smell? It’s an air freshener on steroids, caramel is. Unless you’re my mom, then your first response would be, “It stinks in here, get that window open NOW!”. What a weirdo…
But the taste, now that’s what really gets me. To begin with, sugar just tastes like….well it tastes like sugar. Then when you caramelize it (and add in just a touch of butter/cream of course) it takes on this incredible depth. Nutty and fragrant and caramel-y. Who would have thought?
Now try pouring that over moist, date-studded cake and you’re on a whole ‘nother planet my friend.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
For the cake:
1 tsp. baking soda
60g butter, softened
150g brown sugar
180g AP flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine the dates and water and bring to a boil. Set aside and allow the dates to soften. Add the baking soda to this mixture as well. I found that a potato masher worked quite well to mush the dates up.
Meanwhile cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Then you can add in your date mixture, stirring to combine. Finally add the flour, baking powder and salt to the party. Once everything is just incorporated you are ready to bake. Pour the batter into a 8 or 9 inch square pan that you have greased and coated with flour. Bake at 325F for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Pour over the warm toffee sauce, allowing it to soak into the cake and become wonderful sticky and chewy around the edges. Allow the pudding to cool for at least 15-20 minutes before you slice and serve…with icecream perhaps? I’d say this also doubles as a breakfast for champs. And I can say that because I did in fact eat it for breakfast. How do you like them apples?
For the sauce:
200g white sugar
200ml heavy cream
Heat the sugar along with a splash of water until it dissolves, thickens and eventually forms a dark caramel. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and butter. Careful it will bubble up quite ferociously. Return it to the heat and cook over medium (watching that it doesn’t boil over) until it forms a cohesive sauce. Set aside.