Sticky Toffee Whole-Wheat Date Cake
This cake is a showstopper that a baker with rudimentary skills could pull off. The topping is a toffee glaze made with brown sugar, agave, butter and sea salt; you pour half of it over the cake while still hot so that it saturates the cake, giving it a puddinglike consistency, then wait before using the rest as a high-gloss frosting you sprinkle with sea salt. Seemingly complicated, but surprisingly simple.
- Serves: 9 persons
- 14tablespoons/200 grams unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), at room temperature, more for the pan
- 8ounces/225 grams pitted dates, chopped
- 1tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½cup/80 grams dried currants
- 1cup/130 grams whole-wheat flour
- ½cup plus 2 tablespoons/80 grams all-purpose flour
- 1teaspoon baking soda
- 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾cup/165 grams packed light brown sugar
- 2large eggs
- ½teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½cup/170 grams agave nectar
- ½cup/110 grams packed light brown sugar
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2tablespoons/28 grams unsalted butter
- Fleur de sel
Step 1Make the cake: Heat oven to 325 degrees and butter an 8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan.
Step 2In a small pot, combine dates, lemon juice and 3/4 cup/180 milliliters water. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer gently until dates soften and start to fall apart, about 6 minutes. Add currants to the pot and set aside to cool completely.
Step 3While date mixture cools, stir together whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and salt.
Step 4Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla and cooled date mixture, followed by flour mixture.
Step 5Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly and smoothing the surface. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.
Step 6Meanwhile, make the sticky toffee: In a small pot (you can use the same one you used for the dates), combine agave, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Once sugar dissolves and bubbles, remove from heat and swirl in butter.
Step 7When the cake comes out of the oven, spoon half the sticky toffee over it and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. (It will soak into the cake.)
Step 8When the cake has cooled completely and the remaining sticky toffee has thickened, spread it over the cake with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve. Store, loosely wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 days.