Spiced sticky date, caramel and star-anise cakes

Inside: donna hay - - Front Page -

• 2 cups (360g) fresh dates, pit­ted and chopped • 1½ cups (375ml) boil­ing wa­ter

• 1½ tea­spoons bi­car­bon­ate of (bak­ing) soda • 150g un­salted but­ter, chopped

• 1 cup (170g) brown su­gar

• 3 eggs

• 1½ cups (225g) self-rais­ing (self-rising) flour • 2 tea­spoons ground cin­na­mon

• 2 tea­spoons mixed spice

• 11/3 cups (400g) store-bought dulce de leche • star-anise, for dec­o­rat­ing Pre­heat oven to 160°C (325°F). Line 2 lightly greased 12cm round cake tins with non-stick bak­ing pa­per, al­low­ing an ex­tra 2cm of pa­per to over­hang at the top of each tin. Place the dates, wa­ter and bi­car­bon­ate of soda in a bowl and set aside for 10 min­utes to soften slightly. Place the date mix­ture, but­ter and su­gar in a food pro­ces­sor and process un­til well com­bined. Add the eggs, flour, cin­na­mon and mixed spice and process un­til just com­bined. Di­vide the mix­ture be­tween the pre­pared tins. Cook for 55–60 min­utes or un­til cooked when tested with a skewer. Al­low to cool in the tin for 10 min­utes be­fore turn­ing out onto a wire rack to cool com­pletely. Trim the top off each cake and place each on a cake stand. Us­ing a small pal­ette knife, spread the dulce de leche around the top and sides of the cakes. Dec­o­rate the tops with star-anise+. Serves 6–8. + Re­move the star-anise be­fore eat­ing.

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