Sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce

Light toffee sponge made with black treacle and light muscovado sugar, coated in sticky toffee sauce and finished with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. A classic English recipe and one of my all time favourites, sticky toffee pudding is the ultimate comfort food dessert.

I’ve tried a lot of sticky toffee puddings over the years, basically if it’s on the dessert menu then it has to be ordered. One thing I’ve noticed is that they don’t always have dates in them, and to be completely honest I prefer sticky toffee pudding without dates. Controversial I know! So I have to caveat that this recipe is date-free, but it’s still perfectly sweet and full of flavour.

Ingredients (makes 4 individual sticky toffee puddings)

For the puddings:

50g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
90g light muscovado sugar 
1 large egg
2 tablespoons black treacle
110g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
120ml milk
Vanilla ice-cream

For the toffee sauce:

50g butter
60g light muscovado sugar
1/2 tablespoon black treacle
150ml double cream

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. Grease 4 small pudding moulds (contains 145ml each) or 4 holes of a muffin tray with a little butter.

Start with the puddings. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add the egg and black treacle and mix through. Add the flour and baking powder and fold together until combined. Pour in the milk and mix again until smooth.

Divide the mixture evenly between the pudding moulds. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until risen and firm.

Whilst the puddings are baking, make your sauce. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened and darkened in colour. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover with a lid to keep warm.

To serve, loosen the puddings from the sides of the tins with a knife before turning them out. Place them top-down on individual serving plates and pour the warm toffee sauce all over. Add a dollop of vanilla ice-cream to finish.

Carrot cake blondies

Chewy blondies flavoured with warming spices, grated carrot and chopped walnuts, finished with a cream cheese swirl.

A delicious modern take on a classic bake, this recipe is perfect for Easter, spring and autumn.

Ingredients (makes 12 blondies)

For the blondies:

170g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
170g unsalted butter
225g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
100g chopped walnuts
1 large carrot (approximately 150g), grated

For the cream cheese swirl:

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 medium egg yolk
50g caster sugar
120g cream cheese, at room temperature

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 23cm square baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Start by making your blondie mixture.

First combine the flour and spices together in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl melt the butter until it turns to liquid. Add the light brown sugar and mix until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix. Add the flour and fold everything together. Now add the grated carrots and chopped walnuts and fold together until combined.

Now make your cheesecake mixture.

Place the vanilla, egg yolk, sugar and cream cheese in a bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. If you have an electric whisk i’d recommend using it.

Transfer half of the carrot cake mixture into the baking tin. Drop spoonfuls of 1/2 of the cheesecake mixture over the top. Don’t swirl just yet! Drop spoonfuls of the rest of the carrot cake mixture on top of this and then follow with the remaining cheesecake batter. Using the tip of a knife swirl the two mixtures together.

Bake for 25 minutes. The edges will be brown and the centre should be set. Cool completely in the baking tin before removing and slicing.

Walnut, apple and honey Cake

Vanilla and cinnamon sponge, filled with chopped walnuts and apple and finished with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting and a scatter of chopped walnuts. Every bite of this cake tastes like Autumn.

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Ingredients (makes a 10inch cake)

For the cake:

190g unsalted butter, at room temperature
190g self-raising flour
190g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temp
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 tablespoon runny honey
100g walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g full-fat cream cheese*, at room temperature

*It is important to use full-fat cream cheese as the low fat options are too loose in texture and will result in a runny frosting.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a 10inch round cake tin with a little butter.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time*, mixing well before adding the next egg.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Add ½ of the dry ingredients into the batter and mix until fully combined. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.

Now add the yoghurt, vanilla essence and honey and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Finally fold in 80g of the chopped walnuts and the chopped apple.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes and until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to completely cool before removing from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack.

To make your frosting, first beat the butter for a good 5 minutes until smooth and free from any lumps.

Now drain of any excess liquid from the cream cheese and beat into the butter until just combined, be careful not to over beat. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat again until light, fluffy and pale in colour. If the frosting appears too runny then put the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake and put in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up – this is your crumb coat. Take the cake out of the fridge and spread the remaining frosting all over the cake and finish by dotting the remaining walnuts on top.