The Joy of Cake!

Whilst teaching Pilates is my absolute pleasure and joy, and of course the main focus of my daily life, lockdown has meant also being able find joy in doing things that I would not normally do. Like baking a cake!  I am so not a natural baker and actually, it is very rare indeed to find a cake in our house. We just don't seem to have them - or biscuits for that matter - unless on the occasion that somebody very kindly makes and shares a little goody with us. 


So given that my lovely husband has become my very own Chef Extraordinaire, I decided towards the end of last week that I would have a go at being his very own Baker Extraordinaire - well for a day anyway! This little thought all started when my friend Jo sent me a photo of the cake that her husband had made for his birthday breakfast (yes - breakfast!) and I ended up thinking about it for days. All of a sudden, I so wanted a piece of that glorious cake.


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Anyway, Thursday afternoon arrives and that was it; the only thing for it was to take a trip to Waitrose to buy everything I needed to make the glorious cake. The only debate I had with myself was what to do about the size of the cake. The recipe Jo sent served 12 - 14....eeeek....and there is just me, lovely husband and the dog and cat. So, after a little pre-zoom class umming and ahhhing with some of my class members/experienced bakers, I decided that I would just take the plunge and half the recipe. Well, what a turned out fabulously, even if I say so myself! Here it is if you would like to try it out. 


Spiced Sticky Toffee Date Cake by Jane F


Firstly, I prepared and weighed all of the ingredients so that they were ready; preheated the oven to 180c and greased and lined two 7-inch round cake tins, which had been lurking in my cupboard for years.


For the cake I used:

  • 150g medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 100ml just boiled water
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 90g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 112g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 162g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Dulce de Leche or Carnation Caramel

For the amazing filling I used:

  • 2 tbsp Dulce de Leche or Carnation Caramel
  • 30g soft cheese
  • 50g butter
  • 100g icing sugar

Put the dates in a heatproof bowl. Stir in the cinnamon, mixed spice, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of sea salt, then cover with 100ml just-boiled water and set aside for five minutes or so. Then tip into a blender, or use a handheld blender, to whizz to a smooth puree.


Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time with a little flour beating until incorporated, then the rest of the flour, vanilla extract and puréed dates. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Mine took 23 mins.


Leave the cakes in the tins to cool slightly, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Spread the top of one of the warm cakes with 1 tbsp dulce de leche – this will be the top layer - and then cool completely. 


To make the filling, beat the 50g butter with the soft cheese and icing sugar for 3-4 minutes to make a smooth and creamy buttercream. Mix in 1 tbsp of the Dulce de Leche. Spread the bottom layer of the cake with the buttercream. Drizzle over the remaining 1 tbsp Dulce de Leche, swirling it around a bit. Pop the top layer on top of the buttercream.


I softened the Dulce de Leche by standing it in some hot water as it was easier to drizzle...oh and I was also really quite generous with my measures!




PS If you would like to make the full recipe you can find the original by Waitrose HERE.  In the meantime, I am off to do some lesson planning now......mmmmm.....what will be my focus this week? Ah yes....Abs could be a marvellous idea!

This entry was posted on January 25, 2021