Bravery, Joy and some Toffee Pudding in the New Year

Have you read Neil Gaiman? Yes? LOVED him? Yes? That is why we are friends. Have not read him? Then what are you doing here – please don’t waste a minute more of this precious life and run out and buy his ‘Neverwhere,’ to begin with. If you live in my vicinity, give me a shout – will be glad to lend you a copy. I am dead serious.
If you have read his books, and not liked them, I am not speaking to you anymore. What’s the point? You and I will never see eye to eye on anything. You probably dislike desserts as well.

If you are going out to get a copy, pretty please get his latest book for me. I can’t seem to find it.

Toffee pudding cake
Toffee pudding cake

So why am I thus hectoring you? Because amongst other things, Neil excels at writing wishes for the new year. So here goes, my wish for you and me, for 2014:

“It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.
So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.

And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.

So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.”

Good stuff, right? The birth of Pootler chef is easily one of the best things that happened to me last year – the blog has given me much joy. Wish me the will to continue. Hope that you find/keep at something that gives you joy.

SG (the husband)’s family has an age-old tradition to cut a cake at midnight to ring out the old and welcome the new. SG and siblings grew up expecting a cake at the stroke of the hour. And I have eagerly adopted it, no better way to end the year than to pootle around the oven. And digging into warm cake, community style, can only herald good things – time with friends and family, laughter, some good memories – to come.

Here it is, the Sticky Toffee Pudding that welcomed 2014. Since I had only 200 ml of cream at hand, we shall call it Toffee Pudding and be happy with it. I cannot exaggerate the simplicity or awesomeness of this recipe. Let it suffice – I dream of the cake. David L. mentions in his post that he made it twice in a week. Well, SG had to physically restrain me from baking another batch today. Soon, when his back is turned. Evil laughtering.

I baked the cake first and added the toffee sauce later. Do check the original on the options to make this. And yes, my toffee is much paler than it should be, courtesy a new brand of demerara that I was experimenting with. Will let you know when I make it next, if a darker sugar impacts the taste.

To make the pudding

  • Chop 180 gm of dates and keep aside
  • Sift together 1 ¼ cup (175 gm) AP flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt
  • Beat together (of course, I used the Kitchen Aid, but you can do it by hand or a hand held) 4 tablespoon unsalted butter and ¾ cup (150 gm) white sugar
  • While waiting for the eggs and sugar to become light and fluffy, bring to a boil the chopped dates and 1 cup (250 ml) water. Switch the heat off, and add 1 teaspoon baking soda and mix. Use the mix while still warm
  • Meanwhile, to the butter-sugar batter, add in one and then another egg. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Keep scraping down the sides of the bowl
  • Alternate between adding half of the flour mix, then the dates with water, and then the remaining flour. Mix gently, and don’t overbeat
  • Pour into a pre-greased 8 inch or 9 inch pan and bake in a preheated 190 C oven for about 45 to 50 minutes
  • Let the cake sit in the pan and resist the temptation to sneak in a taste

To make the toffee sauce

  • In a saucepan, add 200 ml of cream, 1/5 cup (36 gm) demerara sugar, and 1 tablespoon of golden syrup. Add a pinch of salt, though I think I forgot to add some
  • Stir to melt sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes while constantly stirring
  • Make holes in the cake using a fork or a toothpick. My baby niece helped by wielding a fork with more enthusiasm than was strictly required
  • Pour the toffee sauce over it. Cover with foil and bake for another 30 minutes at 150 c

I urge you to make this cake. It is simple enough for beginners and delicious enough for seasoned bakers. Trust me on this, you will find immense joy!


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