Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cakelettes

I was a stranger to sticky toffee pudding until a visit to the UK for the holidays nearly a decade ago. I was in Bath, strolling the streets living out Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in my mind to my whimsical hearts' content. We stopped for dinner someplace the clerk at our hotel had recommended. It had columns out front - although in Bath, this really isn't much of a distinguishing characteristic. I'm sure dinner was lovely, but any memory of it was swiftly drop-kicked out of my mind by my first taste of sticky toffee pudding. Something I grieved over not having been in my life before then. Cakey, sticky toffee caramel sauce, whipped cream... nothing else I'd ever had before quite compared. It was almost my first traditional British 'pudding' expanding my global culinary experiences.

My whole family was smitten, and have since tried to replicate that decadence without great success. Though not quite the same as the original (can anything ever truly be?) this is one of my favorite approximations, and also comes quite close to the tasty way they make it a few blocks over at Commonwealth gastro pub. Also a plus for this version, it makes four individual servings as opposed to an entire bunt cake if you're cooking for a smaller crowd.

Sticky Toffee Cakelets

adapted from

Makes 4 single-serving cakes

For the cakes:

3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pitted finely chopped dates

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 tablespoons packed brown sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the sauce:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/3 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350° F. Use nonstick spray to coat custard cup or ramekin. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to blend. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the apricots and dates. Pour enough boiling water over the fruit to cover. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Drain the fruit and gently fold it into the mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed up high and a cake tested inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. The cakes will fall like a soufflĂ© when removed from oven. Allow cakes to cool slightly before turning out of their ramekins. Prepare the sauce:Combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until butter is completely melted and the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until the sauce darkens to a deep brown color. To serve, drizzle the warm sauce over the cakes, allowing the some sauced to pool in the center where the cakes have fallen, or under the cake to let it soak up from the bottom.

1 comment:

Tricia said...

My mouth is salivating...those look incredible!