Sticky date pudding (this is more of a cake because I didn't soak the cake with butterscotch sauce to make it a sticky pudding) with butterscotch sauce.
I had some guests over for dinner last night and served sticky date pudding for dessert. I searched the net and the same recipe turned up everywhere so I searched the images and liked the photo on this site. I usually don't try recipes from official food websites because a lot of them are just copy and paste recipes and I suspect the reviews and ratings are fake but the recipes in this particular website seem true and tried, with step by step photos. In fact, I liked the site so much I linked it straightaway.
Yi and I made the cake in under an hour, 5 minutes to prepare and 50 minutes to bake. It was that easy, no separation of eggs and no weighing, everything went into the food processor, and since I still haven't got my replacement blades for the processor, I just used my hand whisk. Of course I had prepared the dates much earlier but this is one of those simple recipes that don't require you to drag out the mixer or use all your kitchen tools. The pudding is also light on fat, using only 1/4 cup of butter and 2 eggs. You can substitute the butter with veg oil without damage to the texture or even taste since there's so little of it. You don't even need to whisk the butter; just add to the boiling water. I like such recipes.
When the batter was done, we stared at the puddle. It was watery, like heavy cream, and even someone like Yi who doesn't bake often could tell that something wasn't right. I threw in a handful of flour and hoped for the best. You know what, our guests loved it. The pudding/cake was soft, moist and delicious. It was not as soft as the pudding we ate in Melbourne but nearly as good. Maybe as good. Butterscotch is one of those heavenly flavors and I couldn't stop eating the sauce even though it was too sweet. Two months ago I was feeding my family and guests rose chiffon cake, then last month I fed them bread and butter pudding. This month, sticky date pudding is our dessert. YUM.
I didn't have golden syrup for the butterscotch sauce so I used the recipe that's circulating on the net, in sites such as taste.com. If you do try the original sticky date pudding recipe (I've given both the original recipe and my try out), do tell me how it turned out. Maybe I'm wrong about the batter. In any case, the pudding turned out great and I've also found a great new website.
If you prefer a cake texture, just serve the warm cake with the butterscotch sauce but if you like a sticky, gummy pudding texture, prick holes all over the surface of the cake when it comes out of the oven and pour half the butterscotch sauce over and leave a couple of minutes for the sauce to seep in.
note 26/7/11: By mistake, I forgot to add the butter until the end (step 4) when I made this cake a few days ago. I whisked in the cold firm butter into the batter and the batter became fluffier instead of watery and the resulting cakes were very light.
The cake is good served with cream if ice cream is too sweet for you.
Sticky Date Pudding With Butterscotch Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (korma)
1 t bicarb of soda
1/2 cup (original recipe was 2/3 cup) caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups + 2 T (original was 1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 cups water
note: you can add some shaved choc for extra flavor
1. Oven @ 180 C. Line an 8" or 9" (smaller pan gives a higher cake) round spring form pan with paper and grease the sides. For individual ramekins, grease the base and the sides.
2. Put the dates into a saucepan with the water and when it boils, take the pot off the fire and add the baking soda (it will fizzle) and butter (it will melt)*. Or, as I pointed out in the note above, you can leave the cold but not hard butter until step 4 and blend it into the batter. Stir, leave to cool.
3. When cool, either put into a food processor or use a hand whisk to blend the dates. I like the texture very fine but with some bits of dates here and there so you can take 1/2 of the softened dates out and mash them lightly with a fork and keep them aside to be added at Step 4.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla, pulse until just combined. Sift the flour in anther bowl, add the sugar and stir to mix well. This not only breaks up any sugar lumps but also prevents clumps of flour in the batter. Fold flour-sugar mixture gently until into the batter until just combined. If adding butter now, whisk it in with an electric hand-whisk. Fold in the reserved dates, mix well.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes (mine cooked at 50 minutes, using a 9" round pan). Stick a wooden skewer into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. For 2 1/2 " ramekins, bake 30 to 35 minutes; test with a wooden skewer in center of cakes. If using muffin pans of 2 1/2", bake about 25 to 30 min depending on how much batter you filled the pans. Muffin pans usually bake faster because of the dark metal.
6. For a sticky, pudding-like cake, pierce holes in the cake with a skewer and pour 1/2 the butterscotch sauce into the holes (don't cook the sauce too thick and make sure it's warm if you want to do that) while the cake is warm and still in the baking pan so that the cake becomes sticky and gummy or just serve the cake with the sauce, for a cake that's not sticky or sweet. Serve with vanilla ice cream of course. NB: You must serve the pudding (and the sauce) very warm because it's best that way.
Butterscotch Sauce (amended 30/4/11*)
4 T unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (reduced from 1 cup)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 T vanilla extract
a large pinch of salt (reduced from 1 t)
*my previous recipe made so-so butterscotch that doesn't have a strong butterscotch flavor or color as you can see from the 1st photo. This recipe is IT. It's absolutely delicious!
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir frequently over low heat, 3 to 5 minutes. Be sure to get the sugar that's sticking to the sides of the pot. When the sugar caramelises, it will bubbe, turn more liquid and look like thick sand.
2. Add all the cream and use a whisk to stir once in a while over medium heat, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from stove and let cool.
3. Whisk in half the vanilla extract and salt, taste and add more to taste.