I got tired of making cookies and squares for my research participants, so one weekend I pulled out this toffee cake, also from January’s Canadian Living magazine.
It’s moist and rich and sweet and satisfying, and for all that is pretty easy to concoct. It’s really good warm, but keeps up to three days.
So let’s begin, shall we?
Take yourself a 12oz/375g package of dried, pitted dates and plop them in a saucepan with 2 1/2 cups water.
Bring the water to a boil and stir it around a bit, then let it cool.
Mash up the dates until smooth. I found this was easiest in a food processor.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 10″ or 3L Bundt pan (you know, the one with the fluted sides and a hole in the middle).
In a large bowl, beat together 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup softened butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind until light and fluffy.
One at a time, beat in 4 eggs, then add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
In another bowl or measuring cup, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 2 teaspoons baking soda.
Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
Stir in the dates as well. It’s funny how it’s the dates that give it that lovely toffee taste.
Scrape the batter into your greased Bundt pan.
Bake in the bottom third of your oven for about 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, then tip it out onto a plate.
While the cake is cooking and cooling, you can work on your toffee sauce. Mine didn’t turn out toffee coloured, but still tasted fantastic.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 3/4 cup butter. Whisk in 1 cup granulated sugar until dissolved, and cook, whisking the whole time, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is caramel-coloured. Whisk in 3/4 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons lemon juice (be careful to avert your face, as adding cream can make it explosive — I’m serious).
Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac.
Pour about 3/4 cup of the toffee sauce over your cake and let it stand to absorb.
When you are ready to serve, drizzle it with the reserved warm sauce, slice and serve.