The first country you visit overseas will always hold a fond place in a traveler’s heart, and England is mine. In 2010 I spent a glorious week in London with my bestie wandering the streets and taking in all of the history the city has to offer. One afternoon while exploring the famous Portobello Road in Notting Hill, we stumbled upon Hummingbird Bakery. After entering it’s doors and devouring a selection of their American-inspired baked goods with a British twist, I was hooked. Before leaving London, I snagged a copy of their cookbook that I spotted in a bookstore, and set off on my unofficial quest to find the best cupcakes in every location I traveled. Fast-forward 7 years, and after dozens of bakeries and hundreds of cupcakes, Hummingbird Bakery still remains one of my favorites. I’ve made a countless number of their recipes from their cookbooks, and every one is spot-on. This one inspired by sticky toffee pudding is no exception.
The traditional version of this modern classic British dessert includes chopped dates baked in a very moist dense cake, topped with a toffee sauce, and served with vanilla custard or ice cream. This cake captures the essence and flavor of the original in a new and delicious way.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
Based on the traditional steamed pudding recipe, this cake packs all the flavor into cake form.
Rich spongy cake and a sweet toffee frosting make this a great cake for any occasion.
For The Cake
- 180g pitted and chopped dates
- 180mL boiling water
- 80g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g soft light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 180g cake flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For The Frosting
- 160g unsalted butter
- 500g powdered sugar
- 50mL whole milk
- 100g caramel or dulche de leche (I used Sander’s Caramel Dessert Topping)
- toffee for topping ( I used Heath Toffee Bits)
- Chop the dates into small pieces and place into a bowl.
- Pour boiling water over the dates and let soak for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, butter and flour two 8-10″ cake pans and line with parchment paper.
- Using a freestanding or handheld electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy (making sure not to over mix). Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl and mix well on medium speed after each is added.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the egg and sugar mixture in three batches, then mix on medium-high until all the ingredients are combined and batter is smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Add the vanilla extract to the date and water mixture and mix until combined, then add to the cake mixture and fold in by hand, making sure the dates are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
- Equally fill the prepared cake pans and bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick cleanly comes out of the cakes when tested. Cool slightly before removing from pans, then let rest on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting (or else you’ll have a frosting mess on your hands!).
- While cake is baking, using a freestanding or hand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar in batches to the butter and mix on a low speed until sandy in texture and no large lumps of butter remain.
- Still mixing on a low speed, slowly add in the milk and mix well. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and smooth. Finally, add in the caramel and mix thoroughly.
- Place one cake on a plate and cover the top with frosting. Then add the second cake and frost with an initial thin crumb coat base (this helps eliminate pesky crumbs from getting on to the final layer of frosting). After finishing the crumb coat, apply a generous amount of frosting for the final layer, and smooth over the entire cake. Top with toffee.
- This recipe was originally written by Hummingbird Bakery for their Cake Days cookbook. All of the measurements are based on weight, which I find to be a more accurate way of baking, and actually prefer it. Kitchen scales are pretty cheap and can be purchased for around $10.
- This recipe makes one small 10″ round cake. If you desire a taller cake, double the recipe, and use four 10″ round cake pans.
- This recipe also makes 12-16 cupcakes. Bake time remains the same.