sticky date and ginger cake with butterscotch cream cheese icing

Do you remember a few months back I made some
sticky date and ginger cookies? I really liked the flavour of the cookies and wondered if I could capture the flavour of the cookies in a cake. 
As the cookies were originally inspired by the ever popular sticky toffee pudding, I used an old sticky toffee pudding recipe as my starting point. 

nstead of topping the cake with toffee sauce, I made some butterscotch flavoured cream cheese icing then drizzled the cake with the leftover butterscotch sauce. If you didn't want to go down the cream cheese icing route then whipped cream topped with lashings of butterscotch sauce would go down a treat. As both the icing and sauce are sweet, the cake itself is barely sweet so if you made the cake without the icing I would increase the sugar to 150g.

I've made the cake twice now and I can report it works with either vegetable oil or butter. Here's the recipe for you which makes a 
17 cm layer cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. If you'd like to make a 23cm cake, double the ingredients and the baking time should remain the same.

Sticky date, ginger and pecan cake with butterscotch cream cheese icing - makes a 17cm cake
100g chopped dried dates 
½ tsp bicarb soda
100 mls boiling water
40g dried dates
40g toasted pecans 
40g glace or crystallised ginger
1 tbs plain flour
75g room temperature unsalted butter or vegetable oil
100g soft light brown sugar
2½ tsp golden or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature 
150g self-raising flour
½ tsp flaked sea salt 
1½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

Butterscotch Cream Cheese Icing 
30 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
30 g (1 oz) brown sugar
30 mls cream
2 tsp golden syrup
Pinch salt flakes
50 g full-fat cream cheese, room temperature soft
40g unsalted butter, room temperature soft
150g soft icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease, flour and line the base of a 17cm tin with baking paper, then set to one side.

Combine the 100g chopped dates and the 100 mls boiling water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the baking soda which will froth and bubble, and leave to cool.  When cool, puree the dates with a stick blender or in a food processor. Set to one side. Coarsely chop the remaining dates, the pecans and glace ginger. Place into a small bowl and combine with the
 1 tbs plain flour.

Place the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Sift the flour, salt and spices into a bowl then add a third of the flour to the batter, followed by a third of the date puree and continue this sequence until fully incorporated. You should have a nice smooth batter. Finally, stir in the chopped dates, pecans and glace ginger. If you're using oil, follow the same instructions but you won't need a stand mixer as the batter can be made in a bowl and mixed with a wooden spoon.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes at 180°C conventional,  or until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and cool completely before unmoulding the cake.

Butterscotch Cream Cheese Icing
To make the butterscotch, combine the butter, brown sugar, cream, and the golden syrup in a small saucepan. Cook over a low heat until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Cook for a minute or two until the mixture thickens then add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the cream cheese, the butter, icing sugar, the vanilla, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of the cooled butterscotch. Beat on low speed for 10 minutes until soft and fluffy. 

Generously top the cake with the cream cheese icing and just before serving drizzle over the remaining cooled butterscotch. Can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator but is best served at room temperature.

I shared the cake with my neighbours and it received rave reviews. You can't ask for more than that,

See you all again next with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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