Because A Friday Treat is the Perfect Way to End the Week!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sticky Toffee Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

Hooray!! Its Treat Friday, actually on a Friday!! It’s a good start at least and as we’re back, let’s do it properly with a huge, far-too-decadent cake.

I first came across this recipe last year when I made it in cupcake form for my birthday. Yes, I know – baking your own birthday cake is borderline pathetic but I’m far too much of a control freak to leave it in anyone else’s hands. If I’m going to spend the day stuffing my face with cake, I want to know that it’s going to be a good one. And this one is very, very good. 

‘Ok, but it’s not your birthday. What are you going to do with a massive cake?’ some of you may be asking and while I’d love to eat it all regardless, I’m going to take it in to work to force upon my work colleagues. After all, our five week training course is ending today and this cake is a great way of celebrating the fact that we’ve all survived and nobody’s cried...that I know of anyway.

Adapted from that constant favourite, sticky toffee pudding, this cake is moist, rich and decadent, with the salted caramel frosting helping to tip the scales from an everyday sort of tea cake to what is essentially what I’d term, an occasion cake. For a while, I thought about incorporating chocolate somewhere in the recipe, the frosting perhaps, but ultimately decided that this would be a step too far! If someone does decided to experiment with adding chocolate somewhere though, do let me know how it goes!

Another reason why I’m a big fan of this cake is that it looks fancy/complicated but in reality is really, really easy. It’s also pretty speedy, not one that you’re going to be spending hours completing different stages over. So give it a go! Hopefully I can add a photo of the actual inside of the cake for your viewing pleasure later on today. As I mentioned earlier, I’m taking it into work today and don’t really want to take it in minus a slice...that just invites mockery, doesn’t it? Anyway, hopefully it goes down well, I’m almost certain that it will!

Have a great day – treat yourself!

Some Final Tips Before You Get Started:

  • The secret to a light and delicious cake (or biscuit for that matter) lies in the initial beating of the butter and sugar. I’ve recently realised that this is a tip that I’ve failed to mention up to this point and am now rectifying this! When I’m making anything that begins with the creaming together of butter and sugar, I usually beat them together for at least 5 minutes. At this stage, it’s very difficult to overmix your ingredients and in fact, more beating will only make the end product lighter and smoother. Once you add your flour however, you need to settle down and be gentle and sparing with you mixture!
  • As with the main mix, the same rules apply to frosting. With frosting, I take it even further and mix all of the ingredients together for at least 10 minutes. Again, this makes the frosting a lot lighter and helps you to avoid the horrid, heavy frosting that makes you feel like you can’t move for at least 5 hours.
  • When it comes to covering an entire cake with frosting, here are the things you need to do:
    • Stack up and frost the layers together as evenly and as straight as possible.
    • Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting, creating a ‘crumb layer’. This will stop the second and main layer of frosting from being covered with crumbs from the cake which ultimately, just improves the overall presentation of the cake.
    • On top of this layer, again cover the entire cake with a thicker layer of frosting. This is the one that people will see so try to keep it neat. I use an (approx.) 33cm straight spatula to apply my frosting, although I fully intend on buying an angled one ASAP, largely because that’s what they tend to use on TV. So try and make it neat but if you can’t, don’t worry because it will still be delicious!
  • The caramel I use for the frosting is just a standard, pre-made caramel that usually comes in a tin. If you would like to make your own caramel then by all means do! I’ve just used the tinned caramel for this for speed and efficiency.
Sticky Toffee Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

180g Dried Dates (Chopped and Pitted)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
180g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp. Bicarbonate of Soda
80g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
150g Dark Muscovado Sugar
2 Eggs (Lightly Beaten)

For the Frosting:
500g Icing Sugar (Sifted)
160g Unsalted Sugar (Softened)
50ml Milk
100g Caramel
½ tsp. Salt

3x 20cm Diameter Cake Tins

1)      Preheat the oven to 180◦C, grease and line the bases of your cake tins.
2)      Place the chopped dates into a heat proof bowl and mix together with 180ml of boiling water and the vanilla extract. Leave to soak for 20 minutes.
3)      Cream together the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating between each addition. You may need to add a tablespoon of the flour to this mixture half way through the addition of the eggs in order to prevent curdling.
4)      Sift the remainder of the flour and the bicarbonate of soda into the wet ingredients and fold until just combined. Finally, add the date and water mixture and mix gently.
5)      Divide the mixture into the three cake tins and bake for 20 minutes until a deep, golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
6)      To make the frosting: Using an electric whisk or freestanding mixer, combine together the butter and icing sugar until well mixed but still powdery. Gradually add the milk and beat on a high speed for at least 10 minutes. Finally, add the caramel and combine again at a high speed for a further 5 minutes.
7)      When the cakes have cooled completely, place one on top of the other with a generous amount of frosting spread between each layer. Once stacked, cover the cake completely with a thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs. Finally, spread a thicker layer of frosting around the entire cake, smooth and decorate to your preference.

P.S. I apologise for the shocking quality of the photos this week. That's what happens when you move and leave your camera at home and end up having to use your phone!


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