Annual Tradition

sticky date pudding

I know, I know. I got swoony over sticky date pudding last year, but its one of my very favourite winter desserts and I couldn’t let the chance to try another recipe pass me by. I’ve been thinking about it since the weather turned chilly. Perhaps I’ll make it an annual tradition here on Spicy Ice Cream – saving the world one pudding at a time! This version is spiked with chocolate and coffee, and it’s delicious served warm with butterscotch sauce and slightly melted vanilla ice cream.

I started this recipe after dinner with the best of intentions. The instructions looked simple enough, what could go wrong? Well, it was slightly disastrous at first! I almost thought about not posting it at all but I managed to salvage it and I’m happy to say it was worth the mess and the extra washing up. The recipe given below is my amended version. When I put the dates and hot water in the food processor, I ended up with a puddle on the benchtop and dribbling down the cupboards onto the floor. I would suggest soaking the dates first to make them easier to puree, and then using an electric mixer to make the cake.

Also, I was the extremely proud recipient of the Brilliante Weblog award from Vanilla Sugar. Thank you so much Dawn! I think I’m supposed to tell six facts about myself, so here we go…

• I love to read. I have always been a bookworm, since I was little. I read on the train and I can’t sleep if I don’t read at least a few pages before I go to bed. For the last few years I’ve been trying to read 50 books a year. So far I’m up to 24 for 2008.
• I have a strange irrational phobia of slugs and snails. They really scare me, and I don’t know why! It’s not like they can outrun me. It’s just another reason I don’t like rainy weather.
• For years we used to have chickens as pets. They did cute crazy things that made us laugh, and I’ve never seen egg yolks as yellow as those from our own chooks. Unfortunately they met a sad demise when our neighbours bought a dog. It got through a loose paling in the fence one day and… well it wasn’t pretty.
• I hardly ever turn my mobile phone off silent, so I miss phone calls all the time, much to my friends’ annoyance.
• I’ve never had a dog, but one day I’d really like a black Labrador puppy. His name will be Cornelius, C for short.
• If I wasn’t doing graphic design, I have no idea what I would do with my life. I thought about journalism and architecture but neither of them felt right. I don’t think I’d cut it as a chef and I think an office job would drive me mad so I guess it’s lucky I’m good at what I do!

And I will pass this award onto
LemonPi – Y is a fellow Sydney girl whose blog makes me both giggle and dribble, sometimes simultaneously!
Munchable Munchies – my cousin Jessica has recently started her very own blog. I like to think it was my influence at work! She wants to be a chef, and has some gorgeous photos of pavlovas. I have a zillion eggwhites in my freezer so this seems like the perfect use for them soon!
ButterSugarFlour – Linda lives in Melbourne and seems to almost read my mind sometimes. Her blog is gorgeous and her photos are stunning.
No Special Effects – Dr Mark amazes me constantly with his brilliant photographs and honest, humorous writing. The man also cooks, draws, plays the piano, is there anything he can’t do?

Chocolate Sticky Date Cakes
Adapted from Women’s Weekly Chocolate
Makes 4-6

• 1 ¾ cups dried pitted dates
• 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 60g butter, chopped
• ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup self-raising flour
• 100g dark chocolate, melted

Chocolate Butterscotch Sauce
• ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
• 2/3 cup cream
• 50g butter
• 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted

1. Combine the dates and espresso powder in a small bowl, and pour over the boiling water. Stand for 20 minutes. Place in the bowl of a food processor with the baking soda and pulse until smooth.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F). Grease and line with baking paper a 6-hole texas muffin pan, or four ramekins.
3. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating in between each addition. Add half the flour and mix on low speed.
4. Add the date puree, mixing until combined, and then add the remaining dry ingredients. Fold in the melted chocolate.
5. Divide mixture among cases and bake for 15-30 minutes (depending on size) or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Stand cakes for 2 minutes and then turn onto wire rack to cool slightly. Remove paper.
6. To make the chocolate butterscotch sauce, stir ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat, without boiling until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, and then remove from the heat.
7. Serve warm cakes drizzled with sauce and whipped cream or ice cream.

17 Comments on “Annual Tradition”

  1. Thank you for the Brillante award Lisa! You certainly deserved to receive it 🙂 That shot looks straight out of a dessert cookbook (I’m thinking Claire Clark). It looks just as decadent as a Sachertorte and twice as gooey! 🙂 (I’m glad you were able to save it!)

  2. Thanks Lisa. I always look forward to your newest creations, and admire how wise and sweet you are via your writings about your food creations…so with that said I had to give you some sort of admiration.
    And this latest creation looks good as well. Your photo’s are so magazine worthy. I think there is a photography gene in your somewhere.
    I’ve always been fascinated with jouranlism too. Who knows someday.

  3. I swoon over sticky date pudding too. Haven’t made it this Winter yet,.. but there’s still time, I know! Congrats on your award, and thank you so much for passing the honour on to me 😀

  4. Mark, you totally deserve the award, I always look forward to your posts. And thank you! what a compliment!!

    Dawn, thanks again! this blog brings together so many of the things I love – cooking, writing, photography… I need to get more graphic design in there!

    Sylvia, the cake was delicious, I'm glad I managed to rescue it after the disaster I had. Thanks 🙂

    Sarah, I always have seasonal envy of those in the Northern hemisphere… at the moment I'm craving berries, but in a few months when it's hot I'll be craving hot chocolate and cinnamon buns after seeing it on so many other blogs 🙂

    Zoe, I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know how it goes for you. I really hope you don't end up with a messy kitchen like I did.

    Y, I can't wait to see your take on sticky date pudding. I think there is definitely time for (another) one 🙂 And no, thank you for your inspiring blog.

    My Sweet & Saucy, thanks so much 🙂

  5. I refuse to accept that certain desserts have a season… people try to tell me ice cream is only for summer but I disagree. Dessert is seasonless. This looks awesome!

  6. Brilynn, I’ve been eating ice cream all winter, with apple pies and warm cakes like this. In summer ice cream is more of a stand-alone dessert 🙂

    Redmenace, I really hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

  7. Lisa – I just discovered Sticky Date Pudding (or cake) last winter myself (although my winter is 6 months off from yours). It was 10 times better than I expected! I can’t wait for winter (or at least autumn) to be here so I can reasonably make it for my friends again. Thanks for the recipe for the chocolate/coffee variation. I didn’t think it could get better, but somehow I think the chocolate and coffee might just be able to pull it off . . .

  8. Tracy, my first sticky date pudding experience was the Sara Lee frozen one! Home made is so much better! I totally have seasonal envy when everyone is posting gorgeous berry dishes and we're in the middle of winter. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

    Pea & Pear, I read a lot of different genres.. I love the classics like 'Lolita' and 'East of Eden' yet I also love books like 'American Psycho' and 'Fight Club'. Just lately I have been enjoying a few Margaret Atwood books, and at the moment I am reading a great one called 'Brick Lane' by Monica Ali. What do you like to read?

  9. Thanks for the book suggestions Lisa. I have American Psycho sitting on my book shelf so I may just jump into that. i read a complete range of books sometimes including a Robert Rankin for light humour hehehe. Happy Reading!

  10. How late am I to the post? Lol!

    That sticky date pudding looks too good to be true. You just can’t go wrong with caramel sauce, can you?

    Thanks so much for the award and your kind words Lisa! I think your blog absolutely rocks and your photos are beautiful.

    I’ve been meaning to send you a personal email and I will sooooon! 🙂

  11. this cake is so beautiful. in malaysia we are mid way through the month of ramadhan, the month of fasting.everyday we feast only when dusk falls for a month, and this cake was the first thing that brought my dormant senses to life today!i shall make it again for everyone to enjoy when we celebrate eid in 2 week’s time! thank you for such a great recipe.

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