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sticky toffee pudding with mascarpone toffee sauce

Adapted from Karen Mordechai’s warm date cake in Sunday Suppers via Smitten Kitchen and the gingerbread in Samantha Seneviratne’s The New Sugar and Spice.

Ingredients

Scale
  • For the cake:
  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces, 340 grams or about 2 1/4 cups) dried Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (my favorite online source is Nuts.com; Costco also sells an organic brand that I like, though the name escapes me)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ⅔ cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 23 teaspoons gingerbread spice or 12 teaspoons ground ginger, ½-1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon cloves, and ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • For the sauce:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (8 oz) Vermont Creamery mascarpone
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (215 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt (or more, if desired)
  • To serve:
  • Coarse sea salt
  • More mascarpone, lightly sweetened whipped cream, or ice cream

Instructions

  1. Combine the dates and the boiling water in a heatproof bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper (or butter it, if you prefer).
  2. Blend the date-water mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and molasses. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold in the flour, then the date puree. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce. Combine the butter, mascarpone, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook for about 10-15 minutes, whisking, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the salt, and set aside.
  4. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper, if using. While the cake is still warm, slice into desired portions and drape each slice with a generous amount of toffee sauce and a pinch of coarse sea salt, plus more mascarpone or whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

For a cake that veers even more into that warm, rich holiday gingerbread territory, use the higher range of the spices listed below. You could even stir in a teaspoon or two of freshly grated ginger.