Sticky Toffee Pudding (warm date cake)

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky toffee pudding is a hallowed British dessert which translates to American as “warm date cake drizzled with toffee sauce”. Either way you say it, it’s a deliciously rich and comforting treat, perfect for a chilly evening. 

This is a line that (I will pretend) gets thrown at me on a regular basis by drive-by shouters at Nerds Farm: “Oy, mate! You, nerd with knife! I thought you were British! Where’s the sticky toffee pudding, eh? Call yourself a food blog?” Well, firstly, no, I don’t call myself a food blog, and secondly, ha, joke’s on you, fella, because I’ve been making sticky toffee pudding on a weekly basis, and damn good pudding it’s been, too, I just haven’t blogged any of it. I’ve been told this kind of churlish behavior is unnecessarily cruel to our readers, so at last, here is the proof of the pudding, be it both sticky and toffee-flavored.

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Lemon and Black Sesame Buttermilk Pound Cake

lemon sesame seed pound cake

Lemon Sesame Seed Pound Cake! An unconventional combination which really works. Buttermilk keeps the cake tender, and lemon in the cake, syrup and glaze gives it a triple lemon tang.

I discovered this afternoon why I love buttermilk.

At my grandparents’ house, the small conservatory at the back was where we’d hang out on a summer’s day. It was walled with mismatched sofas, chairs and cabinets, and held their vinyl collection and record player. At the age of 10, I didn’t have any interest in most of the music, but they also had some comedy records — daft 1950s British singles by Peter Sellers, Bernard Cribbins and Terry Scott — and a couple of American albums, one of which was Bob Newhart’s one-sided telephone conversations. In retrospect, it was probably the first time I’d heard a genuine American accent other than on the occasional episode of Dallas or Dynasty. The last joke on the Bob Newhart* album was just called “Buttermilk” and was about 20 seconds long and went like this:

“I discovered this afternoon … (pause) … why … (pause) … I don’t like … buttermilk.” (Really long pause for audience laughter) ” … It’s the way the glass looks when you’re through drinking it.”

Lemon and Black Sesame Buttermilk Pound Cake
A quarter cup of seeds give the batter a little crunch.

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Unbelievably Delicious Chocolate Babka

Unbelievably Delicious Chocolate Babka

Chocolate babka: a sweet bread treat made with enriched dough and layered with chocolate – a weekend project you’ll be glad you made.

Greetings, Easter (and Passover***) bunnies!

***This babka is leavened and therefore not suitable for Passover, if your family, unlike ours, cares about such things. Read Matt’s full, sincere and amusing apology at the bottom of the post.

It may have slipped out in the course of this blog that one of us is Jewish, and the other of us is English. These are not, frankly, genres that strike awe into the hearts of home chefs (although Nigella Lawson does pretty well for herself) . When our best friends in town got married, they catered the reception with dishes from Italy (his family heritage), and soul food from New Orleans (hers). It was awesome. A Jewish-British catered wedding? Maybe not so much.

An Easter/(not)Passover*** dessert option, though? Now you’re talking.

Unbelievably Delicious Chocolate Babka
This Babka is filled with rich, dark chocolate with just a hint of cinnamon.

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Toffee-Apple Sour Cream Cake (with a Salted Caramel Drizzle)

IMG_6804 - Version 2

It’s a shame about toffee apples, it really is. In theory, I ought to love them.

There’s the toffee, which, as our Ultimate English Toffee recipe proves, we’re all about. I have no problem with the toffee.

There are the apples – and who doesn’t like apples? Your basic apple is basically the perfect snack – you can eat it on the go without getting your hands covered in crumbs, it’s got plenty of natural fiber, vitamins and that, they’re available pretty much all year round no matter where you live.

And there’s the stick, to hold it with. (Don’t eat the stick.)

Toffee apples – those of a more American persuasion might be more familiar with them as “candy apples” – are a mainstay of Autumn, and the first hints of autumnal flavors in our cooking always give me a frisson of delight (no, Pumpkin Spice Latte, I am definitely NOT looking at you). But a toffee apple just leaves me cold.

So why am I banging on about toffee apples if I don’t even like them that much? And what’s that picture of a cake doing at the top of this post?

Toffee-Apple Sour Cream Cake
These Honeycrisp apples (the large ones) are tart and hold their shape when cooked.

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Three Layer Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Three Layer Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream
Three Layer Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Guys.

Guuuuuuuuuuys.

I just can’t with this cake.

LOOK AT IT!

Is this not the most delightfully bonkers looking cake you’ve ever seen? Hello? Are you listening to me? You’re hypnotized, aren’t you? It’s okay, I get it.

*SNAP*

Welcome back. You can put your shoes back on now and I’ll just hand you back your wallet. Ahem.

Three Layer Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Last week, when my oldest and dearest friend Heather decided to come up and hang out with us for her birthday, Matt and I knew we wanted to make something really special for her. Her birthday also happens to fall on Valentines Day so instead of going out to an overpriced restaurant, we decided to Nerd it up at home and go ALL OUT.

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Zucchini Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

Zucchini Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

Ok, one more zucchini recipe. I’m not obsessed, I swear, we just have a lot of zucchini growing in the garden. Matt’s sister Hayli made this zucchini cake (AKA courgette cake) for us when we visited her in France (I know you’re feeling SO sorry for us right now) and it was fantastic. Very summery from the lemon curd and the zucchini keeps the cake extremely moist. I adapted it from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. We usually make it with green zucchini which gives the cake delightful green flecks throughout, but we’re growing yellow zucchini so that’s what I’ve used.

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