Sunday, 27 December 2020

Sticky Toffee Christmas Fruit Cake

 

It began with a jar of raisins that my mum had been soaking in brandy for a whole year. Entrusted with this jar of gold (if you know, you know) I set to making this recipe. I don't even have the words to explain just how incredible it is. You'll have to make it yourself to understand. 

If you love sticky toffee pudding and fruity christmas cake, this hybrid dessert is dedicated to you and your superior taste buds. The sponge is best eaten the day after when it has had time to soften further. By some miracle or magic it becomes even more toffee-like and delectable. Store the cake in an airtight tin/container and consume within one week.

I've included a few notes below in case you need any substitution recommendations or clarity on any aspect of this recipe.

If you do make this, be sure to share your pictures and feedback with me on Instagram :)

Dried Fruit

I used dried raisins in this recipe. Nice and simple. Sultanas would also do the trick if that is all you have. You may want to switch things up by adding some dried cranberries for an extra festive feel. You may also want to throw in some candied peel. For a more basic sticky toffee pudding, using just dates takes the toffee factor to another incredible level. In this case, you will need to blend all the dates together with the black tea.

As I mentioned, my dried fruit was soaked in brandy for a whole year! This is a good tradition to get into if you know you plan to make Christmas cake every year. Of course, I don't expect you to have a jar of year old soaked fruits just lying around, so I recommend soaking your fruit for 24 hours to allow them to plump up. If you're really impatient and want to make this recipe ASAP, then soak your fruits for at least two hours before you start baking. 


Alcohol or No Alcohol?

I used brandy to soak my raisins, but you can also use rum or whisky (or even a blend of all three). For an alcohol-free version, you may choose to soak your dried fruit in a fruit juice such as orange or apple juice. Unless you avoid alcohol for a special/specific reason, I highly encourage you to use it for this recipe. The warmth and flavour is unparalleled. 

Flour

Self-raising flour is more common here in the UK. If you cannot find it easily, you can make your own at home by combining plain (or all-purpose) flour with baking powder. The ratio is 2 teaspoons of baking powder for every 150g / 1 cup.

Toffee Sauce

The blended fruit in this cake gives it the sticky, toffee-like taste and texture. In my opinion, there is no need to make an accompanying toffee sauce. Instead, serve the cake warm with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream or sweet, silky custard.

Ingredients

Serves 8

- 1 and 1/2 cups self-raising flour 
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup cold vegan margarine
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup black tea
- 2 cups raisins, soaked in brandy
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 180C.

2. Place the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cold vegan margarine and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use your fingers to combine the ingredients until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

3. Drain the raisins from the brandy, retaining the brandy in a jug for later use.

4. Brew some black tea in a saucepan. Half a cup of water with one teabag (which you can discard after 2 minutes of brewing). Add 1 cup of the soaked raisins (drained). Once the tea comes to a boil, add the bicarbonate of soda. The tea will get foamy and frothy at this stage. Take off the heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then place the entire mixture, including the raisins, in a food blender and blend until smooth.

5. Add the smooth tea/raisin blend to the large mixing bowl with the other ingredients, along with 1/2 cup of brandy (drained from the soaked fruit) and the remaining 1 cup of raisins. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix until you have a luscious cake batter. Do not over mix.

6. Prepare a round 18cm cake tin by brushing the inside with a generous amount of vegan margarine. Pour the batter into the cake tin, place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. A skewer stuck in the centre should come out clean. if this is not the case, bake for a further 5 minutes. 

7. Allow to cool slightly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or sweet custard. If you can wait one day before serving, even better, as the cake will get softer and stickier and more indulgent the day after.

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