I have always been a fan of desserts and puddings and the idea of doing a cake pop version of some of my favorite desserts is too exciting to ignore!
It has taken me a while to decide upon the first such recipe I was going to try. I have settled on that most classic of English desserts – Sticky Toffee Pudding – one of my personal favorites!
If you haven’t had Sticky Toffee Pudding before, I urge you to try it. It is quite sweet, but SO good and perfect with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or swimming in hot english custard. Truly blissful!
So I set about experimenting in my tiny kitchen to figure out how I could make a cake pop version without losing the essence of what makes Sticky Toffee Pudding so delicious! I didn’t want to add frosting to my cake crumbs because it wouldn’t keep the authentic flavor – I just wanted to get the perfect taste of my favorite pudding in cake pop form! After much trial and error (albeit delicious errors), I have come up with the following recipe which makes about 40 cake pops.
For the sponge:
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (8.5oz) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup (6oz) pitted dates
1 1/4 cups (300ml) boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (2oz) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (6oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/4 cup (6oz) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (175ml) heavy cream (UK = double cream)
1 1/2 (12oz) cups packed light brown sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees C / Gas mark 4 for the UK).
Grease a 10-inch round or square baking tin.
Finely chop the dates and place them in a bowl together with the boiling water and baking soda. Leave to one side. This will all bubble up. Don’t worry – it’s supposed to!
Now to prepare the batter. At each stage of adding ingredients to make the sponge batter, sometimes it can feel like the batter is too dry and the next moment going to be too runny. Stick with me, it will be a recognizable batter consistency once it goes in the oven.
Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla essence. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and the baking powder together. Then add the flour mixture gradually to the batter. Finally blend in the date mixture with a rubber spatula.
Pour your batter into the baking tin.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees, for about 35 minutes, until the sponge is firm on top.
When ready, take out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
In the meantime, you can make your Toffee Sauce:
Heat the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a small saucepan. There’s no need to melt the butter first. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly as it boils for approximately 8 minutes until the sauce thickens. It may still look runny but it does thicken a great deal as it cools.
The sauce with be EXTREMELY HOT even after it’s been off the heat for a while. Leave the sauce to cool for at least 30 minutes (this can be at the same time your sponge is cooling) but keep it in the saucepan.
Once the sponge has cooled, crumble it down until it resembles breadcrumbs. I use my mixer for this.
Then, still in the mixer, add a little of the cooled Toffee Sauce as the machine is going (or as you are mixing by hand). Wait a moment after you add each bit and observe whether your cake crumbs are forming a dough yet. You want to add just enough Toffee Sauce to make all the crumbs stick together, but not too much so the dough is sticky. When I tried this, I ended up adding about 1 cup (or 240ml) of the Toffee Sauce in total to get the right consistency of dough.
Make sure you keep the rest of your toffee sauce still in the saucepan to one side for the moment.
Then get your dough and roll out some cake balls, one at a time between your palms. This recipe yields about forty 1.5 inch cake balls. Once rolled, pop them in the fridge on a tray lined with wax paper for about an hour. You may notice that these cake balls are much firmer after chilling than your regular cake balls made with sponge and frosting.
Once they are ready, get the cake balls out of the fridge and reheat your remaining toffee sauce. Instead of candy coating, I used the toffee sauce to fix the lollipop sticks. So dip a lollipop stick into the sauce, then push it into the cake ball about half way. The cake balls will be very firm after their time in the fridge so the stick should go in and stay in easily. You don’t need to put them back in the fridge for the stick to set in.
I then got a squeezy decorating bottle and filled it with the rest of the toffee sauce. I placed all the pops on their side and decorated the pops with stripes of toffee sauce from the squeezy bottle.
(Just in case you were wondering – I did experiment with dipping the entire pop in toffee sauce but this made the pop overly sweet and warmed the cake up too much so they fell of the sticks so I wouldn’t recommend it.)
I haven’t added sprinkles or other decorations because I want the pure, unadulterated Sticky Toffee Pudding Pop taste! I did have a cheeky pot of hot custard on the side for dunking though!
You can keep your Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake Pops in the fridge or freezer, but I would bring them out for a while before serving. Sticky Toffee Pudding is traditionally served hot and a cold pop would be too hard and you wouldn’t get the sweet warming yumminess of this lovely pud!
As an aside, if you’d like to try the Sticky Toffee Pudding in its traditional (non-Pop) form, you need to add the following steps to the recipe after baking the sponge and the sauce.
So your sponge is still in one piece and cooling on the rack and you’ve just made the sauce. Now, preheat your broiler (for UK peeps – your broiler is your grill). Evenly spoon about 1/3 cup (80ml) of the toffee sauce over the top of the sponge. Place the sponge under the broiler for about a minute, until the topping is bubbly. Serve the pudding into your serving bowls, with the rest of the sauce and a dollop of vanilla ice cream or a slurp of hot English custard.