Spiced sticky date, caramel and star anise cakes
MAKES 2 SERVES 6-8
400g fresh dates, pitted and chopped
375ml boiling water
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g unsalted butter, chopped
170g brown sugar
3 medium eggs
225g self-raising flour 2
tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
400g store-bought dulce de leche (caramel) star anise, for decorating
★ Preheat oven to 160C/gas 2½. Line 2 x 12cm lightly greased round cake tins with nonstick 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 medium heatproof 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 tins for 10 minutes before turning out on to 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. NOTE Remove the star anise before eating.