Baking a Sticky Toffee Loaf Cake with Fudge Icing

My all time favourite pudding is sticky toffee. Now if like me you know a clear distinction between cake, pudding and dessert. For the pudding category, sticky toffee pudding wins every time. So when I considered the idea of using my favourite pudding to inspire a new loaf cake, i started researching. To my delight I found Delia had similar notions. I found her recipe and decided to give it a whirl. I just changed a few small details which you will be able to see below.

This week I decided to bake a Sticky Toffee Loaf cake with fudge icing. Do not be fooled into thinking this cake will be like a sponge pudding, oozing with syrup, it is definitely more cakey. It has more bite. The dates work beautifully with the sweetness of the pecans. Then topped with the fudge icing it works beautifully, and isn’t a far cry away from it’s sister the sticky toffee pudding. I haven’t come across icing like this before. It was literally like smooth fudge, spread over the top. Not icing. Fudge!

My addition, for taste and in more so, decoration, I decided to chop up some ready made fudge into cubes and decorate a small cluster on top. With a sprinkle of icing sugar this cake felt like a masterpiece to me, and certainly radiated a warm cosy christmassy vibe.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 50g pecan nuts 
  • 110g stoned dates 
  • 110g spreadable butter or stork 
  • 50g black treacle 
  • 175g golden syrup 
  • 150ml milk 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225g plain flour 
  • 1 tsp mixed spice 
  • 2 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda 

For the Icing 

  • 4 tbsp evaporate milk
  • 3 tbsp dark brown soft sugar 
  • 50g unsalted butter 
  • 150g icing sugar 
  • 200g of fudge to decorate (chopped into small cubes)

METHOD 

  • Preheat the over to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  •  Line a 2lb loaf tin with parchment.
  •  Roughly chop the dates and pecans into relatively small and equal pieces. 
  • For the cake mixture: place the butter, black treacle and syrup in a large saucepan and melt them together over a gentle heat. Stiring with a wooden spoon. Remove the mixture from the heat, let it cool for a few minutes, then mix in the milk. 
  • When the mixture is cooled beat the eggs and add those to the syrup mixture as well. If the mixture is not cool the eggs might curdle. 
  • Next sift the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and gradually whisk the syrup mixture into the dry ingredients, bit by bit, until you have a smooth batter. Then lightly stir in the pecans and about two thirds of the dates, and pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
  •  Now lightly drop the rest of the dates on the top, pushing them gently in with a skewer. I find adding this amount of dates last of all gives a better distribution of fruit as the mixture is a fairly slack one. 
  • Place the cake on a lower shelf so that the top of the tin is aligned with the centre of the oven and bake it for 1 hour to 1½ hours by which time it will have a very rounded, slightly cracked top. 
  • The cake should be cooked when a knife inserted to the cake comes out clear. Cool it in the tin for about half an hour before turning it out. 
  • To make the icing: in a small saucepan melt together the evaporated milk, brown sugar and butter, then simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. After that tip it into a bowl and leave it to cool.
    Then sift in the golden icing sugar and whisk everything together till smooth. Finally, using a palette knife, spread the icing all over the top of the cooled cake. Decorate with chopped fudge.

Baking a Coffee, Cardamon and Walnut Loaf Cake

This week I have used another fabulous recipe from the Fiona Cairns book ‘Seasonal Bakes’. As you can probably already tell, I am slightly obsessed with this book. However, I did make a few changes to create a loaf cake version of this wonderful bake. Coffee and Walnut loaf cakes are too very common. It is certainly a firm family favourite of ours. My aim my baking loaf cakes is always to challenge the traditional recipes and create something slightly more exciting. So when I read this recipe, I couldn’t wait to experience the flavour addition of cardamon.

My own personal addition is the coffee cream centre. This is my first loaf cake that I have created a sandwich filling. It worked really well with this bake. However it does mean the shelf life shortens as we are using fresh cream.

 I found this recipe to be perhaps the most fiddly one yet. But if you are like me, you don’t mind a bit of this now and again. Sometimes, if a cake is too easy to make, I don’t feel challenged enough and have to make another! For instance taking the cardamon out of the pods does take a little time, so this could be prepared before hand to save time. I would also recommend you prepare the caramelised walnuts in advance and store them in the fridge to ensure that you do not spend all day creating this cake. Unless you are like me and enjoy spending a whole Saturday baking!

Ingredients 

 For the cake:

  •  175g unsalted butter, really soft, in pieces, plus more for the tins
  •  50g walnuts, roughly chopped 
  • 15 cardamom pods 
  • 175g caster sugar 
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp of boiling water and cooled 
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  •  50g ground almonds 
  • 125g self-raising flour, sifted 

 For the caramelised walnuts:

  • 50g walnut halves 
  • 100g caster sugar

 For the Coffee Cream: 

  • 125ml Double Cream
  • 2 tbsp Camp Coffee 
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 

 For the buttercream:

  • 5 cardamom pods 
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened, in pieces 
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 tsp Camp coffee essence (or 1 tbsp instant coffee, prepared as above for the cake) 
  • 1 tbsp double cream

Method 

 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Butter two 20cm round sandwich tins and line with baking parchment. Keeping them separate, place the nuts both for the cake and the caramelised nuts on baking trays and roast for six minutes. Cool. 

 2. Lay the walnut halves for the caramelised walnuts on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Have a sink or washing-up bowl of cold water to hand. Put the sugar and 100ml of cold water in a saucepan and dissolve the sugar over a gentle heat, stirring with a metal spoon. Increase the heat to a boil, stop stirring and occasionally brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, to prevent crystals forming. Boil until the mixture turns a beautiful caramel gold and has thickened. Plunge the base of the pan into the cold water, then, using a teaspoon, drizzle the caramel over the walnuts on the tray and leave to set.

3. De-seed all 20 cardamom pods for the cake and buttercream, grind the seeds to a powder in a mortar and pestle and sift it to remove husks. Keep one-quarter aside for the buttercream. 4. In a food mixer (or in a bowl with a hand-held electric whisk), cream together the butter, sugar and coffee until very light and fluffy (a good five minutes). Gradually add the eggs, then the almonds and cardamom. Gently fold in the flour and chopped nuts; don’t over-mix. Divide between the tins and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. 5. When the cake is completely cool, cut the cake length ways in two even halves. Whisk the double cream, camp coffee essence and vanilla extract together until you form stiff peaks. Then pipe the cream inside one half of the loaf. Carefully place the other half on top.

6. To make the buttercream, in a food mixer (or in a bowl with a hand-held electric whisk), beat the butter and icing sugar for a good five minutes. Add the vanilla extract, cardamom, coffee and cream and beat until smooth. Spread over the top of the loaf cake and decorate with caramelised walnuts and shards of the caramel, to make a dramatic decoration.


 Stay tuned for next week when I will be sharing with you my Red Velvet Mini Loaf cakes. 


Baking a Jamaican Ginger Cake with Rum and Spiced Orange

Firstly, apologies for such a delayed blog post. Long story short moving house is no picnic. I still managed to bake but not able to blog! I will catch up with two lovely loaves this week! Firstly let me introduce my Jamaican ginger loaf cake with spiced rum and orange. I felt the need to tackle another all time classic. Now I am sure everyone knows of the famous Mcvitites variety, but for me, home baked is always better than store bought. Having never tried a homemade ginger loaf, I was really excited to taste the difference to this cupboard classic. Some people may argue, why go through all this effort when you can often pick up the cake in store for around a £1. I believe that this cake is worth the extra effort and slightly higher cost. The cake is so much more interesting and offers new flavour combinations that compliment the spiced rum and zesty orange. Additionally, because I have used fresh ginger the cake packs an extra punch with a fiery taste. Ginger has so many health benefits, especially for digestion, so in fact you could argue that each slice is good for you!


Ingredients 

  • 125 g golden syrup
  • 125 g black treacle
  • 60ml dark spiced rum 
  • 125 g dark soft brown sugar 
  • 50ml water 
  • 125 g butter 
  • 50g grated root ginger (peeled) 
  • grated zest of 1 orange 
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 50ml milk 
  • 250 g plain flour 

Topping

  • 100g icing sugar, plus a little extra for dusting 
  • juice of 1 orange and half the orange segments for decoration. 

Method

For the loaf cake:

  • Preheat oven to 170C
    Grease a 2lb loaf tin (bottom and sides) with greaseproof paper & butter.
    In a saucepan melt butter in a pan along with the golden syrup, black treacle, rum, dark brown sugar, water, butter and grated ginger and orange zest. Simmer this all in the pan until melted. Once melted take off the heat and mix the bicarbonate and milk together and then add, stir to combine.
  •  In a large bowl sift the flour and spices then add to the bowl of flour, along with the eggs. Add the saucepan mix to the bowl and whisk it really well to make sure you don’t have any lumps. 
  • Pour the mixture into tin and bake in centre of oven for 1hr 15- 1hour ½. You may need to cover the top with foil part way through to stop it catching. 
  • Cool the cake in the tin for a few minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack. 

 For the icing: 

  •  Mix together the icing sugar with the orange juice in a bowl. Drizzle over the cake when completely cool. Decorate with orange segments ontop and dust with a touch more icing sugar.


Coming up next week, I will share with you my take on a Coffee, Cardamon and Walnut loaf cake.

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