This is perhaps my favourite cake of all time. It’s moist and slightly chewy, and it tastes like holidays in a chalet with a glowing fireplace and mulled wine bubbling away on the stove. I make it almost every week during winter months as it keeps beautifully in the fridge and warms to that just-out-of-the-oven feel with just a few seconds in the microwave.
It is delicious served with poached pears or some vanilla ice cream. When it comes to the toffee sauce, it could not be easier to make. Cream and sugar are cooked together until they resemble flowing melted gold. And possibly taste like it too – almost nutty and definitely delicious.
- 260g water
- 150g dates (pitted)
- 150g plain flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 150g dark brown sugar
- 50g butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
For the sauce
- 400g whipping cream
- 80g Demerara sugar
- 25g dark brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Butter and line a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.
Bring the water to the boil in a small saucepan, take off the heat and add the dates (without the pits). Soak for a few minutes.
Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside. Blitz the dates using a hand-blender until smooth.
Cream the sugar and butter in a large bowl, either with a wooden spoon or electric beaters. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the puréed dates and mix until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is cooking, make the toffee sauce. Bring the cream and sugars to the boil in a pan over high heat, stirring every now and then. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir with a spatula and the sauce coats the back of a cold metal spoon.
Serve straight away or leave to cool in a plastic container and keep refrigerated for up to a week. It will thicken a lot as it cools down, but simply reheat a small quantity in a pan over low heat until piping hot.
Recipe taken from Paris Pastry Club by Fanny Zanotti
In Paris Pastry Club Fanny Zanotti shares her favourite sweet (and a few savoury) recipes – a combination of family classics as well as her own creations, perfected in between blogging and working as a successful pastry chef. Indulge in Fanny’s wonderful food memories from her childhood in France by recreating her grandma’s spicy almond nougatine, her mama’s melt-in-the-mouth orange & yoghurt cakes, and Friday-night crêpes straight from her papa’s crêperie. Fanny’s own recipes feature a range of sweets, like the earl grey tea weekend loaf – essential for rainy Saturdays, to a comforting one-bowl tiramisu, and the almost-instant chocolate fondant cake, ready in a flash. For more extravagant celebrations, there’s an impressive pistachio and cherry cake, a decadent salted caramel & milk chocolate flan pâtissier, and a delightfully pink and fruity peach Melba Charlotte. Throughout the book, Fanny offers cheat tips on how to make the perfect sugar syrup, prove dough, use a piping bag, whisk egg whites like a pro and more. Whimsical and charming, with beautiful photography throughout, Paris Pastry Club will give you the confidence to release your inner pastry chef, and is a must for anyone who loves to bake.
You can buy Paris Pastry Club at cooked.com.
Published by Hardie Grant Books.
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