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Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake
Spago Beverly Hills
~ Sherry Yard

For the cake:
8 ounces pitted Mediool dates, finely chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan(s)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon Trablit coffee extract
(available at pastry supply stores, or see Sources)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
For the Toffee Sauce
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out; seeds and bean resen/ed
¼ cup milk
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water, if needed

This moist date cake is topped with a marvelous decadent toffee sauce. Two secret ingredients give it incredible depth of flavor orange zest and coffee extract. My favorite dates to use for this are Medjool, the plump, moist, thin-skinned variery. They are chewy, with an almost chocolaty flavor.

  1. Make the cake: Place the dates in a bowl and pour on the boiling water. Let sit for 1 hour.
  2. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 oF. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan or eight 6-ounce ramekins.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. With the back of a fork, mash the dates in the bowl with the water. Stir in the baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, sugar, orange zest, and coffee extract on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl afer each addition.
  5. Beating on low speed, beat in half the date mixture. Still on low speed, beat in half the flour mixture. Add the remaining date mixture and the remaining flour. Pour into the prepared cake pan or ramekins and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes (15 minutes for ramekins). Rotate the pan or ramekins from front to back and bake for another 25 minutes (10 minutes for ramekins), or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce: Place the brown sugar, cream, butter, vanilla seeds and bean, milk, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Continue to cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Remove the vanilla bean.
  7. When the cake is done, remove from the oven. If the sauce is too thick to pour, add the tablespoon of water. While the cake is still hot and in the pan, poke it with a skewer in several places. Pour on the toffee sauce, and serve.
Note: I prefer to serve this in individual portions, but it is also dramatic as one cake with the sauce poured over.





Chocolate Amoretti
Chef: Donald Wressell   (Read About Donald)

Good quality marzipan     12 ounces.
Egg whites (about 3 ea.) as needed
Powdered sugar (about 1 pound) as needed

72% E. Guittard Quetzalcoatl 1 Bar

Method:

  1. Grate chocolate with a coarse grater.
  2. Mix all ingredients with a paddle in a stand mixer until homogenous (about 1 minute)
  3. Dust a work surface with powdered sugar.
  4. Place marzipan mixture on the surface dust with powdered sugar.
  5. Press into a square about ¾ inch thick.
  6. Cut the in ¾ inch by ¾ inch squares.
  7. Roll the squares into uniform balls
  8. Lightly coat with beaten egg white and roll in powdered sugar.
  9. Allow to dry about 2 hours.
  10. Pinch and bake @ 350 F. about 6 minutes.



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