I think I’ve mentioned before on this blog that my kid sister is absolutely hopeless in the kitchen. In fact, my kid brother (who is younger than both of us) is far better at wielding a kitchen knife than she is – whenever I see her attempting to chop something up, my heart leaps into my mouth and I have to resist the urge to make any sudden movements in fear that she will hurt somebody, most likely herself. This probably has something to do with the fact that she has had to do very little fending for herself – she’s always had my mother and I around to take care of her, and there is always at least one of us at home and cooking when she is home and wanting a meal.
Worse comes to worse, there’s always leftovers in the fridge, a fact that she is most grateful for.
I do have to give her some credit, though. She has offered to make dinner for the family…once. And though the dinner actually consisted of an Old El Paso taco kit, she does get points for effort (mostly on the basis that even though my brother does know how to cook a little, he’s never done the same. Though he usually does help with dinner if we ask him to…)
Anyway, my sister’s lack of kitchen prowess isn’t entirely her fault – I do have to admit that some of the blame is on me. You see, as the member of the family who most enjoys pottering around the kitchen, I’m constantly looking for recipes that I think my brother and sister will be fond of and enjoy, and I am forever pestering them and asking them what they would like me to try. Which is how, incidentely, I ended up making a sticky date cake though I’ve never actually tried a sticky date anything before in my life…
As happens quite often, I was sitting at the kitchen table, feeling frustrated, bored and utterly idea-less. You see, I had a baking itch that was begging to be scratched, but alas, I had absolutely no idea what to try. I flipped mindlessly through cookbook after cookbook, before finally admitting defeat and letting out a loud sigh as I dropped my head onto the table.
Yeah, lets not repeat that ever again *rubs sore head*
My sister, upon hearing the resounding thump from her room, pranced down the stairs and saw my depressed form sitting behind a mountain of scattered cookbooks. “Uhh,” she probed, “what’s wrong?”
“I want to bake!”
“Eh? Then bake – what’s the problem?”
“I don’t know WHAT to bake!”
I heard her burst into laughter, and I scowled as I looked up. “Why are you laughing?! I don’t think its funny at all! Hunh! I demand you give me an idea!”
The laughter abruptly stopped as her grin was replaced by a rather thoughtful look. “Actually…there’s this thing I tried at a restaurant awhile ago…sticky date…something? With a really nice sauce! Can you make that?”
Eyeballing her, I replied “sticky date something? Can you give me a better idea? Anything??”
“Nah…but sticky date…yeah, that tasted gooooooood!”
Hmph! Some help she was! Oh well – I did have to thank her for giving me some direction. Thankfully, I remembered reading a recipe for a sticky date cake in my Bill Granger cookbook, so the search wasn’t long, and I have to admit that I’m quite glad that my sister suggested this as though I had never actually had a sticky date pudding or cake myself, trying this cake has made me absolutely fall in love.
(the butterscotch sauce should be a lot more oozy..I accidentally cooked it for far too long while watching ‘Knocked Up’! Whoops!)
Sticky Date Cake w/ Butterscotch Sauce
(from “Every Day” by Bill Granger)
300g pitted dates, chopped (NOT medjool dates – they are too soft/moist and will disintegrate)
250mL (1 cup) water
1 tsp bicarb/baking soda
70g unsalted butter, diced
80g caster sugar
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
185g self-raising flour, sifted
Butterscotch sauce (below)
Vanilla ice cream
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line the base of a 20cm round cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
2. Put the dates in a pan with the water and cook over low-medium heat for 5-6 mins, stirring occasionally, till the dates are soft and almost all the water has been absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the bicarb/baking soda (not baking powder!) and butter and set aside for 10 mins to cool slightly.
3. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, vanilla extract and eggs and stir well to combine. Fold in the sifted flour till well combined, then spoon into your lined cake tin and bake for 50 mins, or till a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.
4. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve while slightly warm, with some warm butterscotch sauce (below) and ice cream!
185g soft brown sugar
150g unsalted butter
Heat the sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 3 mins. Pour over the sticky date cake and serve each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
[tags]sticky date, cake, butterscotch, recipes, Bill Granger, desserts[/tags]