It's lovely as a cake, although I think it would be really good warm, with a little custard, as a special treat. It really is like a sticky toffee pudding.
200g dates, roughly chopped
200ml milk, plus a splash
250g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
280g self-raising flour
200g light soft brown sugar
½ tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla paste
2 eating apples
squeeze lemon juice
handful of toffees
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tray with baking parchment.
Put the dates and milk in a small pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside for 15 mins to cool.
Whizz the date mixture to a smooth purée in a food processor or blender, then scrape into a large mixing bowl. Tip in the butter, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, eggs, mixed spice and vanilla, and set aside while you prepare the apples.
Quarter and core the apples, then slice quite thinly, tossing in a little lemon juice as you go (although I only had lime – oops!).
Beat together the cake ingredients until smooth, then scrape into the baking tray, and smooth the top. Arrange the apple slices, overlapping in rows, on top of the cake.
Bake for 45-50 mins until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tray.
When you’re ready to serve (as the sauce is best when it’s warm and runny), put the toffees in a small pan with a good splash of milk and gently melt, stirring, until runny. To finish, dust with a little icing sugar, then drizzle sauce all over the cake.
You can find this recipe in Good Food Magazine (November 2011 issue). You can also find another fab version by Gingerbread Boy, one of my Twitter pals, here. Love his opening photo!
A mention to the Tobie Norris, in Stamford, Lincs, where our cake club was held. It was a great venue and the staff really looked after us. Plus, their presentation of a pot of tea was top notch. Loving the Le Creuset crockery and the mini milk bottle is just to die for.
It's taken me a while to upload this post as I've had a sudden hit of bad luck. I ended up in hospital for most of last week, after unexpectedly having surgery to remove my appendix, and am currently resting at home recuperating. I'm not a good patient when I'm ill - I find it hard to rest and do nothing while I recover, so instead tend to try to do more than I can manage and then set myself back again. I'm not eating much, and can't move a lot, so baking anything is out of the window both as I can't physically manage it and I don't want to eat the results anyway. Sucks.