The Perfect Christmas Cake

December 15, 2016

Sticky Date Gingerbread Layer Cake Monika Hibbs Sticky Date Gingerbread Layer Cake Monika Hibbs Sticky Date Gingerbread Layer Cake Monika Hibbs Sticky Date Gingerbread Layer Cake Monika Hibbs Sticky Date Gingerbread Layer Cake Monika Hibbs Sticky Date Gingerbread Layer Cake Monika Hibbs Sticky Date Gingerbread Layer Cake Monika Hibbs

If you’re looking for an adorable and delicious to make for Christmas this one might just be it! It’s the perfect Christmas twist on a classic sticky toffee pudding recipe! We’ve dreamed up a layered sticky toffee pudding cake with gingerbread spices to make it more festive.  This is such a simple cake to bake. If you choose to make the layered one, like us, there are so many fun ways you can decorate it and be creative!

This White Christmas scene with the mini trees and cotton candy is my favourite, but there are so many themes you could play with! If you’re looking for an even easier way to enjoy this recipe, it’s so simple to make as one layer. Just pour the sticky toffee pudding into a rectangle pan and top with ice cream!  So delicious either way!  Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Sticky Date Gingerbread Layer Cake
Prep time: 40 minutes
Total cook time 45 minutes – 1 hour
Makes 8 – 10 portions

For the cake:
1 cup pitted dates
1 ¼ cups water
1 tsp. baking soda
2 ¼ cups plus 1 Tbsp. cake and pastry flour*
½ tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup molasses
3 large eggs at room temperature

For the toffee sauce:
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup 35% cream

For the white chocolate buttercream:
4 large egg whites (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter (cut into cubes, at room temperature)
4 oz. white chocolate chopped
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Pre-heat your oven to 325F for convection or 350F for non-convection.

In a small saucepan, combine the water and dates. Bring to a boil. Once they have softened (about 5 minutes), remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Use a hand mixer or blender to puree everything together. Set in the fridge to cool.

Grease and flour three 6” cake pans and set aside.

Sift together all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugars on high until they’re light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add in the molasses, followed by the eggs one at a time to ensure the mixture does not curdle. (If it looks split, add about ¼ cup of the dry ingredients to help bind everything together.)

Remove the date paste from the fridge.

Add the dry ingredients in three increments, alternating with the date paste and ending with the dry. Make sure to give the bowl a good scrape down on the sides and bottom.

Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

For the toffee sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Give it a good whisk and set aside until the cakes are out of the oven.

Once the cakes finish baking, remove them from the oven and use a toothpick to pierce the top of each cake. Pour a small amount of the toffee sauce over the cake. Let the cakes cool before removing them from the pan.

If layering cakes like the photo, I like to let mine to cool in the fridge. The cakes will be easier to handle and decorate.

 For the white chocolatewiss meringue buttercream:
Place the egg whites and the sugar in the bowl from your mixer.

Using a pot big enough to hold the mixer’s bowl, create a double boiler. Add just enough water to simmer, and ensure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.

Whisk to combine the sugar and egg whites. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes glossy and all of the sugar is incorporated. (This usually takes around 5 minutes.) It should look like meringue. If you are using a thermometer, it should read around 155F.

Remove the bowl from the heat and place on the mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high until stiff glossy peaks form and the mixture has cooled down completely. (Touch the bottom of the bowl to see.)

Switch out the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter in small amounts until it is fully incorporated. This step should be around 5-10 minutes. (It is very important the butter is at room temperature)

Place the white chocolate in a bowl on top of the same water bath you used for the egg whites. (The residual heat should be enough to heat the small amount of chocolate.) Once melted, give it a good stir and remove off the water bath. Add it into the buttercream and mix for an additional minute.

If your mixture has curdled, it’s okay! Just keep mixing and it will come back together. This could have happened if the butter was too cold. If it looks like it’s all gotten too warm, place it in the fridge for 15 minutes and then start to mix again.

Assemble the cake by placing a layer of buttercream in between each layer of cake and continuing till complete. We dusted ours with icing sugar and topped it with white cotton candy and some pretty trees!

If you do not feel like making the layered version, I highly recommend making the cake in an 11×13 rectangle pan. (Grease and flour as in above instructions.) Follow the same directions but increase the baking time by about 5-10 minutes. You can double up on the sauce and have sticky toffee pudding. Serve it warm with a bowl of ice cream and top with more toffee sauce. It is by far the most perfect and comforting dessert on a cold winter’s night to enjoy with friends and family!

*Cake and pastry flour yields a more tender cake I like to use it in my cookies and cakes, but feel free to sub out for all-purpose flour.

Recipe created by MH food contributor Erin Creed.