Slideshow: Behind the Sweets: Timothy Cottini Makes Sticky Toffee Pudding at Fork

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Porter Ice Cream
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Porter Ice Cream

Puréed Medjool dates and heaps of toffee sauce contribute to making this cake sticky and ultra-moist. The whole thing is topped with an unusual porter ice cream that really tastes like porter and also complements the toasted, caramelized flavors in the pudding.

Making the Cake Base
Making the Cake Base

The cake starts with creaming together butter and raw sugar, which is used to balance the oil in the final product. If brown sugar is used, the cake is a little too oily; if white sugar is used, it's a little too dry. The raw sugar provides a nice balance. Once the butter and raw sugar are smoothly blended, molasses, corn syrup, and an egg are added.

Cake Batter
Cake Batter

Flour is added and mixed until it's just incorporated. If it's over-mixed, too much gluten can form, which makes the baked cake chewy and tough.

Date and Baking Soda Mixture
Date and Baking Soda Mixture

Timothy blended the dates and water together, stopping to scrape down the bowl several times, until they were broken down into a very smooth pureé. Since the final product is pudding, the texture needs to be velvety smooth without any chunks of date. Baking soda is added to the pureé, which causes the whole mixture to immediately leaven and turn lighter in color.

Coating Bundt Pan
Coating Bundt Pan

Timothy said they tried buttering the bundt pan, then they tried buttering and flouring the bundt pan, and finally decided a hearty spray of oil was the only way to get these sticky cakes out of the pan.

Pre-Baked Cakes
Pre-Baked Cakes

The bundt molds are filled up almost to the top so that they purposefully bake up and out of the pan. The excess is then trimmed off later so that the cakes can more easily soak up the toffee sauce. These bake for only 15-18 minutes at 400°F.

Adding Butter to Toffee Sauce
Adding Butter to Toffee Sauce

After the sauce just simmers, Timothy reduces the heat and whisks in butter. This is what makes it a toffee sauce instead of a caramel sauce, which is not usually finished with butter.

Finished Toffee Sauce
Finished Toffee Sauce

Once the butter is about 75% melted, Timothy turns off the heat completely so the mixture doesn't boil and separate.

Baked Cakes
Baked Cakes

The bundt molds are intentionally over-filled, so they're baked over a sheet pan that catches any spillage. The tops are then sliced off soon after they're pulled from the oven to leave the cakes open for soaking up lots of toffee sauce.

Releasing Cakes
Releasing Cakes

If everything goes well, the cakes are left to sit in the sauce for just a few minutes before getting knocked out of the mold. If they cool too much in the mold, they harden and become impossible to remove.

Second Toffee Sauce Soak
Second Toffee Sauce Soak

Toffee sauce is once again ladled directly into the divot in the still-warm cakes. They are then wrapped in plastic wrap while they're still warm so they don't form a crust. They're then left to cool before getting plated, when they are yet again bathed in more toffee sauce.

Toffee Pudding with Porter
Toffee Pudding with Porter

Because of the toasted and rich caramel flavors in the pudding, porter is a nice complement—in both ice cream and liquid form.