I’ve never been very good at sums. When I was doing my GCSEs (or O-levels as we called them in those days) I got such a bad grade in maths my father made me re-sit the exam. Knowing how idle I was he supervised my revision, a practise to which I attribute my abiding dislike of having people standing over my shoulder watching me work. To my dad’s disappointment I got a lower grade the second time around. Go figure, as our north American friends would say.
The reason I’m telling you this is that I based this recipe largely on one from Debora Robertson, whose original measures were for a full-sized bundt cake. I was making six baby bundts but as I’m not clever enough to work out the ratios, I ended up with enough mix to fill that tin and another of bite-sized cakes. If you’re more numerate than me (and it wouldn’t be difficult) you can work it out for yourself. Otherwise, resign yourself to one large cake or a great many smaller ones. Such hardship.
Date and Ginger Bundts with Toffee Drizzle
350g dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
225ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
225g plain flour
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tspn powdered cinnamon
A grating of nutmeg
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tspn salt
125g stem ginger, rinsed of syrup, drained and roughly chopped
125g dates, roughly chopped
Plus: butter and flour to grease tins
To decorate: crystallised ginger, chopped, and (optionally) gold sparkle sugar
For the toffee drizzle:
125g soft brown sugar
1-2 tbsp cream
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
In a small saucepan, warm the butter, treacle and sugar, stirring until smooth, then allow to cool slightly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk or yoghurt.
In a larger bowl, sift the flour, spices, bicarb and salt. Stir the two wet mixes into the flour until just combined, then fold in the dates and stem ginger.
Pour into the prepared tins and bake for around 20-25 minutes for the small bundts, 45-50 minutes for a larger cake, 15-18 for the bite-sized ones, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tins then turn out onto a rack.
To make the toffee drizzle, put the butter and sugar into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until they have melted together. Remove from the heat and continue to stir until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Add a small splash of cream and stir again.
Once the cakes have cooled, put a sheet of baking paper under the wire rack and trickle the drizzle over the cakes. It will lighten in colour as it cools. Decorate with the chopped crystallised ginger and gold sparkle sugar. The cakes make a good dessert served with ice cream and (for sugarholics) with the remaining toffee sauce served alongside.