Another week, another afternoon loaf cake requested by Justin. The one I’ve chosen this time is Delia’s sticky toffee loaf cake with fudge icing. None of Delia’s recipes have ever let me down!
Thanks to the treacle and spices, it’s quite a dark, wintery, warming cake; perfect, considering that I can see a light flurry of snowflakes falling outside as I write this!
It’s a straightforward recipe – a bit of heating, a bit of mixing – and a long, slow bake. As Delia recommends, this cake is best left overnight before tucking in. The various ingredients have time to combine and settle into each other.
The resulting cake is full of flavour – substantial, yet not hard going. Perfect with a cuppa!
My ‘dark brown’ soft sugar was quite light in colour and I didn’t have any golden icing sugar, so I used Muscovado sugar and plain white icing sugar instead. I reckon the resulting shade of my icing matched Delia’s fine. I had to apply it a little sooner than I would have ideally liked to ensure there was still a bit of daylight for a photograph. Make sure that your loaf is completely cooled before topping with icing otherwise it will just melt.
- 1 level tsp mixed spice
- 2 level tsp ground ginger
- 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 110g/4oz stoned dates
- 50g/1¾oz pecan nuts
- 110g/4oz spreadable butter
- 50g/1¾oz black treacle
- 175g/6oz golden syrup
- 150ml/5¼fl oz milk
- 2 large eggs
- 225g/8oz plain flour
- 4 tbsp evaporated milk
- 3 tbsp dark brown soft sugar
- 50g/1¾oz butter
- 150g/5¼oz golden icing sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
- Line a 900g/1lb loaf tin with a loaf tin liner
- First, place the tin of black treacle (without its lid) in a saucepan of barely simmering water to warm it up and make it easier to measure (I needed to do the same with the golden syrup)
- Next prepare the dates and pecans. The nuts should be chopped fairly small and the dates should be chopped into equally small pieces
- Put the butter, black treacle and syrup into a large saucepan and melt them together over a gentle heat
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it cool for a few minutes, then mix in the milk
- Beat the eggs before adding those to the syrup mixture as well
- Sift together the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Gradually whisk the syrup mixture into the dry ingredients, bit by bit, until you have a smooth batter
- Lightly stir in the pecans and about ⅔ of the dates, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin
- Lightly drop the other ⅓ of the dates over the top, pushing them down gently with a skewer (adding this amount of dates last of all gives a better distribution of fruit as the mixture is a fairly slack one)
- Place the cake on a lower shelf so that the top of the tin is aligned with the centre of the oven and bake it for 1½ hours to 1 hour 50 minutes by which time it will have a very rounded, slightly cracked top
- Allow it to cool in the tin for about half an hour before turning it out on to a wire rack
- In a small saucepan melt together the evaporated milk, brown sugar and butter. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes
- Tip it into a bowl and set aside to cool
- Sift in the golden icing sugar and whisk everything together till smooth
- Using a palette knife, spread the icing all over the top of the cooled cake
- Store the cake in an airtight tin, in its paper liner. The cake does seem to improve if kept for a couple of days before eating