Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Syrupy Loaf Cake

I won't lie, this is not the greatest looking cake in the world, so is probably not appropriate for a dinner party. However all the better for it, as you get to enjoy it all to yourself! As with many things, although humble on the outside it is pretty special inside, with a syrupy sponge spiked with notes of toffee and bitter chocolate. It's an easy one to make, but you need to watch out for a couple of pitfalls. The tin needs to be very well greased to stop the sponge sticking and it'll scorch very quickly unless you cover the top with some greased foil. Aside from that it's a great afternoon tea treat, so have at it!

Prep Time: 15 Mins
Baking Time: 60 Mins
175g Unsalted Butter (Softened), plus a bit extra for greasing
100g Light Muscovado Sugar
3 Medium Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
75g Golden Syrup
1tsp Baking Powder
175g Plain Flour
100g Medjool Dates (About 5)
75g Dark Chocolate

50g Golden Syrup
25g Dark Chocolate

Right, let's get going. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, WELL grease a 22cm loaf tin and line the base with baking paper. When I line this one I cut the baking paper slightly larger than the base of the tin, as I think it helps stop the cake sticking. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar, ensuring no little lumps remain. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir through the vanilla extract and 75g of golden syrup. Sift in the baking powder with the plain flour and mix it all together thoroughly, until you are left with a smooth batter. Roughly chop the dates and fold through, then do the same with the chocolate (I would try and have a good mix of tiny shards and chunky chips of chocolate).

Take the remaining 50g of golden syrup and drizzle evenly into the base of the tin. Finely chop the 25g of chocolate (Or you could grate it) and sprinkle it over the golden syrup. Spoon the cake mixture evenly on top. Lightly grease a sheet of tin foil and cover the top of the tin, folding and crumpling at the sides to seal it. Place in the centre of the oven for 60 minutes. If you're concerned you can check it's cooked by carefully removing the foil and cleanly removing a metal skewer from the centre. If it's slightly under just cover again with the foil and return to the oven for 5 more minutes or so. When done remove from the oven and leave for 15 minutes to cool slightly. When you can safely handle the tin you can turn the cake out. Run a flat bladed knife along each side to help release the sticky sponge, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Or you can eat it warm with vanilla ice cream! Yum! 

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