Sticky Toffee Pudding Layer Cake (Gluten Free)


This is my second pay day cake as the first was the ‘Macchiatto’ espresso, vanilla and caramel layer cake and this month I wanted to create a sticky toffee pudding cake that was moist, not covered in sickly buttercream but smooth and silky in the mouth.  It was not easy to photogrpah this cake and it may look a lttle dark but I assure you it is not burnt just crammed full of dark rich dates.Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake by Cakeboule

My pay day cake idea revolves around creating a reward to celebrate the fact that I’ve been paid and made it to the end of another month as we should all be thankful if we have jobs these days. However I believe there is always an excuse that can be made for making or eating cake so that it does not need to be kept solely for Birthday celebrations, here are a few examples:

1. I love you cake (aka its all for me)
2. It’s Friday, Monday cake etc whatever day you want to celebrate
3. ‘I saved a fortune by getting all this in the sale’ cake (honest)
4. I put up with your snoring so I deserve cake
5. There is a celebration most days on google with a funky graphic so if you are really desperate use that as your excuse!

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake by Cakeboule

You don’t have to go the full monty and make a four tiered layer cake as I do this to me as each layer represents a week worked. If you wanted to you could half the recipe and bake it a 20cm tin, cut in half and smother the middle it in sticky toffee sauce. Or you could heat it up, drizzle with more sauce and serve with ice cream for a delicious pudding. The bonus of a cake version is that is portable so you can have a sticky toffee hit where ever you go.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake by Cakeboule

This produces a dense moist cake but it is not overly sweet like you might expect as it uses a swiss meringue buttercream flavoured with the sticky toffee sauce. Unlike a normal buttercream (butter and icing sugar) swiss meringue buttercream is not as sweet so will need flavouring. The buttercream is a bit fiddly but not as bad to make as I thought it would be and the reward is a very smooth silky buttercream that knocks the socks off any other I have tried.

Sticky Toffee Cake

To Make this Gluten Free
I have made this gluten free a few times before with great success.  Simply substitute the self raising flour (see below) with gluten free self raising flour (I use Doves Farm). As this is a very moist cake it works well as a gluten free cake and needs no further moisture or xanthum gum. For more gluten free info – ready my 7 tips for gluten free baking here.

Ingredients (cake)
450g dates, pitted and chopped (soaked in 300ml water with 4 green tea bags or use ordinary tea bags)
2 tsp vanilla extract ( use my own version so I know it has no nasty stuff in it)
2 tsp mixed spice
360g self-raising flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
230g unsalted butter, softened
350g light muscovado sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions for the Cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
2. Line 2 x 20cm round loose bottomed tin with greaseproof paper.
3. Using scissors cut up the dates into small pieces.
4. Put the dates and water into a large saucepan.
5. Bring dates and water to the boil and continue to cook uncovered for 8 minutes until dates have softened
6. Remove from heat, fish out the teabags – remember count them in and out as you don’t want to forget one – it’s just like being on a school trip.
7. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda – this may make the mixture froth so be careful.
8. Leave the date mixture cool on the side – although if you are impatient (like me) the cake will still work but it will melt the butter so it won’t be as fluffy and cake like.
9. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, pale and airy.
10.Beat in the eggs and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Add vanilla extract.
11. To the mixture in the flour and the e mixture (cooled).
12. Pour (as this is quite a liquid mixture) into the prepared baking tins and level the surface.
13. Cover the cake with foil
14. Bake for approximately approx 30 mins and then remove the foil ( to prevent burning) and bake for approx 10 minutes more. It is ready when the top is golden and the cake has begun to shrink away for the sides. It will still have a little bit of a wobble as the mixture is moist.
15. Leave to cool in the tin and transfer to a wire rack.
16. I always leave cakes that are being layered overnight in an airtight container wrapped in greaseproof paper so that they do not crumble when you cut them.

Ingredients for Sticky Toffee Sauce
120g light brown sugar
120g salted butter (but unsalted works just as well)
100ml cream (I used Elmlea half fat)

Instructions for the Sauce
1. Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved whilst stirring so the sugar does not burn. To check the sugar has dissoleved you can put a very small amount on your fingers and rub them together it should not feel gritty but be careful as it will be hot.
2. Stir in the cream and heat until gently bubbling – stir continually. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Tip – You can always double the recipe and put it into an airtight jar and store in the fridge for toffee fudge sundaes in the next week – yum!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Adapted from Sweetapolita)
If you have never done swiss meringues before I urge you to read Sweetapolita’s article – swiss meringue buttercream demystified – it is a god send and made me feel far more confident that was until it curdled – but I have included how I fixed this later on in this article!

Ingredients
120g egg whites (I used liquid egg whites which you can buy in a carton from the Supermarket as they are pasturised)
200g granulated sugar
340g butter (soft but still cool)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Vanilla bean (seeds only)

Special equipment
Double boiler, baine marie / porriger pan or use a bowl over a saucepan – make sure this clean by wiping it with a lemon or vinegar
Sugar or jam thermometer

1. Beat your butter using a hand whisk and transfer to a seprate bowl for later.
2. Add about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan / bowl and add the egg whites and sugar to the pan / bowl
3. Whisk gently over a low heat until the egg whites reach 140C and then remove from the heat
4. Pour egg whites into mixer bowl and whisk on medium speed for five minutes. Continue on high until stiff peaks form. Keep whisking until the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm – this is really important as you do not want to melt the butter when you add it (this takes about 8 – 10 mins)
5. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time whilst still mixing and watch it until it has combined – continue in this way until all the butter has been added. If you mixture is soupy you did not wait long enough for the egg whites to cool – put the mixture back it the fridge and then try again in 15-20 mins. Is it curdled and yukkly? See below…
6. The mixture will come together to become light and fluffy – add the sticky toffee topping to your own taste – add a tablespoon of sauce (one at a time) whilst still mixing. Any left over sauce can be used over ice-creams for sundaes!

Dillema – The Swiss Meringue Buttercream Curdle (How to recuse it)
Yes I hit this problem and I kept mixing the buttercream like Sweetapolita tells you to do and have faith that all will be fine. After five minutes faith was leaving me, I tried putting it in the fridge, praying, beating it on high, low but none if it changed the fact that the SMB looked disgusting!

However I did find something that works on this site – take 1/4 of the mixture out and pour into a microwavable bowl – heat for 15 seconds and then stir it to get a smooth consistency before pouring it back into your mixture. Whisk again on a low-speed. This worked and I was so pleased to have saved the buttercream.

Toffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream

To Assemble the Cake

Cut each cake into two even layers (I use a tape measure to make sure each layer is evenly sized. I don’t have a cake stand that rotates but I do use a revolving cheese board stand but you could also uses a lazy susan to do the job. Add a dollop of buttercream to the centre of your stand and add your first layer of cake and press down – this will keep your cake in place while you work.

Assembly

1. Put half the SM buttercream into a large piping / pastry bag and use a large star open tip nozzle
2. Use a palette knife to spread out the sticky toffee sauce onto your first layer. Make sure you don’t go right to the edge or the sticky toffee sauce is likely to ooze down the sides of your cake.
3. Spread SM buttercream across the top of the sticky toffee sauce – again keep in from the edge
4. Pipe around the edge of your layer using and up and down (think waves at the sea) motion until you have gone round the entire cake
5. Add the next layer carefully so as not to squash the piping
6. Repeat until all layers are done
7. Cut up fudge pieces and add to the top if you wish

Sticy Toffee Pudding Cake

Important Storage Notes
This cake should be stored at room temperature which is fine if you used the pasturised egg whites. After a couple of days it will need to go back in the fridge if there is any left. However if you are putting in the fridge you will need to get the cake out and let it come back fully to room temperature or the icing will taste disgusting!

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7 Random Facts About Me


Thank you to All that glitters for awarding me the Kreativ and Versatile Blogger award I am truly honoured. I met all that glitters over a conversation about ginger cupcakes.  She runs a fantastic blog with a wealth of interesting articles from beauty, cooking, fashion and food of course!  With such a wide variety to read there is always something to enjoy.  Of course part of the award is that I have to reveal 7 random facts about myself so here goes….

7 Things about me:

  1. I have a second marriage to baking – sometimes I scream at it, argue, fuss, pine for it, laugh at it.  Occasionally it gets the silent treatment and I file for divorce but it never agrees.
  2. I love to stand in the rain – the harder it is raining the better but not on straight hair days.
  3. I love dragonflies as like them I flit from one thing to another with super charged speed.
  4. I have lots of partially started books on all differnt themes that I have written and have never finished one yet but dream of doing so.
  5. I have phantosmia which involves smelling things that nobody else can.  Bizarrly when I smell something really bad I also find bad things happen afterwards.  So with my cooking this could mean the World is going to end most days – well it is 2012.
  6. I hate driving and will physically pull my body inwards when trying to fit through a small gap whilst oooohhhing in true girly style all the way through.  I also duck when I go under low bridges and can be found gripping the seat and trying to put my foot through the floor to find an imaginary extra brake pedal when my Husband is driving.
  7. I recently had a conversation with a friend about things spooky things and the film ‘Woman in Black’ (not that I have seen it) . When I went to bed I had to turn off the light and run to my bed as fast I could and hide under the covers because I had scared myself – how stupid!

My nominations for the Kreative and Versatile Blogger award are:

  • Homedmade by Fleur – A devoted baker with a beautiful face, soul and blog to match. She runs her own cake club and has been on TV but like me she believes in cakeland (a bit like fairyland but the cupcakes have wings).  She is very supportive and has some fantastic ideas.
  • Here’s one I made earlier – is a blog by Kate and she tries out all sort of different baking goodies.  I love her little blog but she does not get many comments and I think she should have more as she has a great blog with simple instructions and images to match.  You all remember what it is like to blog and think nobody is reading what you write so spare a moment, say hello and cheer her on as baking is quite obviously her secret passion.

Rules of the Kreativ and Versatile blog award:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Share seven things about yourself that people may or may not know already.
  3. Pass the award along to others and let them know you’ve nominated them!

7 Reasons to Love DIY Granola with Adaptable Recipe


This post will not beat you around the face with yet another recipe for granola as there are millions online and why reinvent the wheel?  What this post does share with you is my own chart that I made which is easy to use to make your own adapatable Granola easily with anything you have to hand.  With this simple formula you will be able to choose your own Granola destiny with the blink of any eye.

Granola recipe

Granola is beautifully packaged clusters of oaty breakfast cereal that shout out at you from the supermarket aisle.  They lure you in with their tantalizing oaty flavours but leave you taking a sharp intake of breath when you see the price attached to it and back on the shelf it goes (maybe next time).

Granola recipe

Top 7 Reasons to Love DIY Granola:

1. It is far cheaper to make your own Granola while you do have to buy quite a few ingredients to start with, you will be able to make far more from it.
2. You are in control of your Granola destiny so if you wnat more of this or that go for it.
3. You can experiement with a dash of this and blob of that – no more best fit granola flavour for you. This also means you can flavour it so the rest of the family avoid it if you’re clever.
4. You can use the granola for many other things like topping muffins, puddings and I used it to make granola bars (post on its way soon).
5. It looks beautiful in a jar and has no powdered bits at the end (like boxed cereals).
6. The house smells fresh and oaty when it is baking.
7. It requires very little effort that it makes you wonder why they charge so much?

Adapting a Granole Recipe
I discovered that once you have the main ingredient ratios for Granola this frees you up to get creative and change the recipe to suit your mood, what is in season or in the cupboard.  From searching 100’s of granola recipes and reading all the comments to see what worked and what did not I made a visual Granola chart summarising it for myself and thought I would share it with you:

Granola Recipe Chart

Sadly my family also seem to have suddenly taken a liking to my Granola and especially the bars I made with it (post to follow) and I think I am going to have to make another batch.  Not that I mind as normally they would not put an oat into their mouths unless it’s baked with golden syrup, butter and sugar.  My son has an adversion to breakfast, anything remotely healthy and baths so at least this recipe solves two of three of those problems.   Which just leaves me to wonder what can I put in it next time that they do not like? Hmmmmm….

Granola recipe

Basic dry ingredients (for those of you who can’t see the chart)

200g combination of dried fruit
100g combination of seed / nuts
450g combination of rolled oats and any other cereal
100g sugar
1 pinch salt

Basic wet ingredients

150 ml syrup / honey – used as the binding agent
2 tbsp oil (non flavoured – sunflower works well)
150 ml fruit juice or Bramley apple sauce works very well – this is also used as the binding agent

Designing your own muesli (just a few ideas)
Pick and Mix Flavourings – vanilla extract, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg etc
Seeds – sesame, pumpkin, poppy, flax etc
Nuts – brazil, pistachio, almond, hazelnut – for best flavour toast them in the oven for a few minutes
Fruit – cranberries, blueberries, cherries, dates, apricots, mango, pineapple,sultanas, coconut etc
Cereals – always used rolled oats, add any other cereal like bran, rice puffs,  etc
Syrups – honey, acacia (lighter taste) golden syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup (less sugar rush)
Sugar – brown, normal, muscavado, vanilla sugar or a combination
Treats – chocolate chunks, fudge pieces etc

What I used – Recipe (if you really want one. However it is mianly here so I can remember!)

450g rolled oats
100g sesame seeds
100g sunflower seeds
3 tsp homemade vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
100g flaked almonds
200g dried fruit (add after cooking)
2 tbs sunflower oil
150g Bramley apple sauce
150 ml acacia honey and maple syrup (I used half and half)
100g homemade vanilla sugar
pinch salt

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 160/ Gas 3 / 140 fan.
2. Line 2 baking trays (at least a 1 inch side.) with greaseproof paper / baking parchment
3. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (do not add the fruit – add this after baking)
4. Add all the wet ingredients and stir well to combine fully, pour into trays evenly
5. Bake for 50 mins use a spoon to turn over the granola every 10 minutes to prevent burning
6. You are aiming for a light golden colour to your finished Garnola.
7. Leave to cool, add fruit and pour into a large airtight container or jar.
8. Makes enough for approx 20+ servings and I stored mine in a 1000ml preserving jar (which was full and I had about two portions left over!)

Enjoy the smugness in the morning! x

Virtual Valentine Craft and Bake Competiton 2012


Valentines Day is special (get ready to pass the sick bucket) as it is our wedding anniversary yes groan all you wish.  This year I am surprising Mr H with a holiday away and I can honestly say I can’t wait but I can say that as I know where we are going.  As I am unlikely to bake on that day (being away and all) I thought it would be great to get in the spirit with a virtual valentines competition (remember my New Year’s resolution about making more memories).  

Fun Bake and Craft Competition
This is just for fun competition showcasing photographs and blog posts from insanely clever crafters and bakers like you.  Be as creative as you like there are no hard and fast rules.  If you believe in Mayan predictions there will not be another one as the World is going to end in 2012 so this could be your last chance! 

I will feature all entrants with a photograph of their entry and links to your blog post or facebook page to showcase your hard work.  There is a small prize and of course the ability to brag to friends you won.  As this is a self funded blog and I have no sponsors but rumour has it the prize will be a stylish heart trophy beautifully handcrafted in oak. 

P.S: I would love to say my husband chose this date for our wedding as he is the complete romantic but I would be lying.  In reality it was purely (as I found out during his speech) for no romantic reason at all but to ensure he got a continual 6 week reminder after New Year.  He told the entire room ‘if I remain oblivious to hearts and roses in shop windows from Jan 1st  then the queues in garage forecourts and supermarkets across the land by panicked men would give me a final reminder’.  He followed this with ‘at least I will not be the man who forgot his wedding anniversary’ (thanks a lot for the romance Mr H). 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Competition Rules of Entry 
Want some inspiration?  Look at my Valentine inspired gallery on pinterest

Main Entry  – Using a Blog / Website

  • Make sure your entered item is featured on one of your pages / posts.  Tell your viewers that it is for the virtual valentines craft and bake competition 2012 with a link to this post https://cakeboule.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/vvcomp on the competition
  • Sign up to follow my blog to find out the results and of course to see the entrants and winner
  • Add cakeboule as a tag on your post / page that you are submitting
  • You can add me to your beloved blog roll / website links if you wish but it is not necessary – join or add me because you want too.

Facebook

  • Feel free to like the cakeboule page and share it with others to share out the Valentines love (got to get in the spirit)

Bonus Retweets on Twitter

  • Follow me on twitter for competition updates @cakeboule
  • Post your entry on twitter. 
    • use a shortened link to your post and mention me @cakeboule
    • Add #ValentineBakeCraft
    • I will retweet you and your post when I get chance
    • E.g @your name entered WP.657.890 to @cakeboule for the #ValentineBakeCraft competition

General Rules

  • Make anything you wish as long as you feel it says Valentines day to you
  • Please email your photographs (no more than 2 so make sure they are your favourite) to cakeboule@gmail.com
  • Please include the link to your post as well as your name (but I will only publish you as your blog / web page name where possible)
  • The deadline is February 4th so that I have time to showcase your entries in a blog post with links to all your hard work before 14th February
  • The winner will be announced on the big day itself (wifi connection permitting)  which is 14th Feb in case you did not know / live under a rock.
  • The small prize will be sent out to the winner by post if within the UK (overseas entrants are welcome to join in but I am not sure how much it will cost to ship the prize internationally but will find out.  Disclaimer – I accept no responsiblity for the state it arrives in or if it gets there I can only do my best)
  • Bragging rights are completely allowed for the winner