It’s called a pudding but in truth it’s a cake.
Sticky toffee pudding ”“ “pudding” as the British call their desserts ”“ is a rather simple brown sugar date cake cosetted in a lush toffee sauce. For something so straightforward, it possesses earthy flavor, definitely one of those sigh-inducing desserts.
Home baker Karen Young (Google her on this site!), the desserts of whom I’ve written countless posts about, offers for the holidays, sticky toffee pudding “cake” ”“ the latter word attached to avoid any confusion. Presented in loaf pan form, I’m initially not quite sure what it is. Underneath its tawny sheath is a soft cake, the dates of which are not immediately discernible. Karen has included a short note suggesting that I microwave a slice “… approximately 20 seconds or until the toffee becomes soft. A ”˜must-try with vanilla ice cream!” (Exclamation point hers).
Dual-temperature desserts thrill me to no end; hot and cold tastes are the ultimate tongue tease, keeping satiety at bay. With my first slice of Karen’s sticky toffee pudding, I get carried away with the microwave time so the toffee becomes a listless sauce that I scoop up with the cake. The dates, save for dark specks flecking the soft cake’s landscape, may be small but they resound in flavor: nuances of vanilla and white sugar point up similar notes in the toffee sauce that echo with cream and brown sugar.
And because it’s impossible to get too much of a good thing, I send my Bin out for a tub of vanilla ice cream ”“ Karen did say it’s a “must-try” after all ”“ and top my second slice with a scoop of it. This time, I’ve nuked the cake just ”˜til the toffee sauce has softened and is barely clinging to the cake. The residual heat merely warms the ice cream but with each spoonful I take, its underside widens ”“ illustrative of this dessert’s bottom-broadening abilities if I keep on eating.
Sticky toffee pudding is the perfect dessert to eat now while the temperature is cooler. It’s hearty and warm and sticky-to-the-ribs satisfying. It’s cold if you add the (vanilla) ice cream — incidentally, I imagine mantecado would work well too ”“ or squirt some whipped cream on top. Believe it or not, it cuts the cloy normally associated with this dessert, making one want more. And “more” isn’t a bad thing at this time of year, especially every access to edible excess.
For ordering information, visit Karen’s website: www.karenskitchen.com .