When I operated Kiss My Bundt Bakery on West 3rd Street in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of befriending the executive chef at the Chateau Marmont, one of Hollywood’s most famous (and infamous) hotels, known for great food, great cocktails, and great celebrity gossip.
I ended up being a contract cake-caterer for the hotel, providing hundreds of desserts for the most alluring events. As we developed the menu for the upcoming celebrity-studded event, the chef wanted some interesting or unusual cake flavors.
The chef asked me if I had a recipe for a Sticky Toffee Pudding, and I admitted to her that I had never eaten nor made this dessert before. She told me she had a recipe, but that it was a copy of a handwritten piece of paper with some of the measurements missing. She had never attempted to make the recipe herself, so she offered it to me to tinker with.
When I saw the recipe, it was in about a size 8 font, impossible to read certain ingredients, and some of the measurements were missing altogether.
After a magnifying glass, some recipe research, and a few experiments, I had developed a recipe that was unlike anything I’d ever made it. It was a spice cake, but it incredibly moist, and with addition of two sauces made it multilayered and complex.
This dessert isn’t something I grew up with in the Southeast, but I’ll tell you that when I served it at my Retail Bakery, you could hear the ‘ummmmmm”s coming from the lobby.
While the British and the Irish call this dessert “Sticky Toffee Pudding”, this is definitely what Americans know as “cake”. This cake has the normal warming spices you see in desserts this time of year, but the interesting thing is that it gets sweetness and added moisture from a surprise ingredient: pureed dates. Topped with the warm toffee sauce, it’s one of my favorite treats. And topped with the tangy whipped cream that get’s some depth and dimension from sour cream topping, this sweetness is cut, and somehow modified into something exceptional.