I'm having so much fun baking to a Christmas theme, I never want it to end. One recipe I tried a year or so ago was sticky toffee cupcakes, and they were a huge hit. And for me, sticky toffee is definitely better in the winter. So what better flavour to try out in a Christmas themed way.
The recipe is really easy to follow, and was buried in one of my cookbooks on a scrap of paper so I honestly don't know where I got it from. But I've done it a few times now and each time it's worked out perfectly. However, for blogmas I decided to do something a little special with this scrummy cake.
INGREDIENTS FOR CAKE
- 85g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 175g of pitted dates, finely chopped
- 175ml boiling water
- 1/2 tbsp biocarbonate of soda
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 175g self-raising flour
INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE
- 85g soft light brown sugar
- 40g butter
- 2 tbsp milk
- Bag of Smarties.
First of all preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius and crease a tray bake tin.
Chop up your dates finely, and then put them in a small saucepan with your boiling water and bicarbonate of soda. Heat gently for around 5 minutes, you should start to see it all congeal together and be a little bubbly. Make sure you don't boil the mixture though.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together your butter and sugar. I like to use an electric whisk as it keeps the mixture lovely, light and fluffy. Then beat in the egg, vanilla extract and date mixture. Once it's all combined, sift in your flour and carefully fold in so not to loose the air. Once it's all mixed together pour the mixture into your cake tin.
Bake for around 30 minutes, or until it's firm to touch. It should be shrinking away from the sides of your cake tin.
Leave to cool for around 20 minutes, then take your gingerbread men cookie cutter (I got mine from Sainsburys) and start cutting out your men. I managed to get 6 smallish men from my tray bake. Then place these in a play or large flat bowl as you'll soon need to pour your sauce over them.
To make your toffee sauce, put the brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan and heat until it's dissolved. Then simmer gently while stirring for a couple of minutes. Prick your men all over, and our over the sauce. While it's still hot, place your Smarties on the body to make them look more like gingerbread men. Leave to cool and voila!
If you get around to making it please let me know. They're super scrummy and really easy to make. They're also incredibly cute, you may feel a bit bad about eating them. Maybe.