Well, that was fun sharing a bit about The Suburban Years. Now, back to my favorite subject: dessert. This Sticky Toffee Whole-Wheat Date Cake from Jessica Koslow and the fine folks at Sqirl gets the honor of being the first cake to break in our new oven. Thankfully, the oven was calibrated properly and the cake turned out perfectly—gooey, caramel-y, and in short, everything I want to eat.
- 14 tablespoons/200 grams unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), at room temperature, more for the pan
- 8 ounces/225 grams pitted dates, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup/80 grams dried currants
- 1 cup/130 grams whole wheat flour
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/80 grams all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup/165 grams packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For sticky toffee
- ½ cup/170 grams agave nectar
- ½ cup/110 grams packed light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons/28 grams unsalted butter
- Fleur de sel
Make the cake
Heat oven to 325 degrees and butter an 8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan.
In 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.
While date mixture cools, stir together whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and salt.
Using 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.
Scrape 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
When 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.)
When 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.