My sister’s the baker and I’m the cook. Which makes us a pretty great team. But without question when the holidays roll around her sweet contributions are so much more exciting than whatever appetizer or side dish I’m serving up. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding…and this pudding is sticky, gooey, decadent and comforting to the max. It also just so happens to be vegan with a few healthy tweaks but all of the same rich toffee taste as the original. If you are still looking for a holiday dessert to serve this week, rest assured this is it.
A few notes before starting: If you are looking for a lower carb or gluten free option my sister has made this using 3/4 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup almond flour. I tried this using buckwheat flour and almond flour and the consistency was slightly more pudding than cake, but I did 1 cup almond + 1/4 buckwheat (oops!, still tasted great). Next time I will split it 3/4 buckwheat + 1/2 cup almond like my sis and I bet it will be more like the original below. Also, you can use one pot for this recipe, so make sure it’s medium-large in size to make it easy on yourself. Don’t be intimidated, this recipe is really easy to make.
For the cake:
200 grams pitted dates (about 1.5 cups), pitted and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan butter substitute), lightly softened
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar (75 grams) OR 1/2 cup Sucanat
3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans, 1/2 cup for cake + 1/4 cup for topping
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose, or alternative options listed above)
For the toffee sauce:
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown rice syrup (found near the maple syrup at the grocery store)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unpacked brown sugar (35 grams) OR Sucanat
3 tbsp Earth Balance
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond milk
salt, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and toast the pecans for about 8-10 mins. Now, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie dish or an 8-inch square pan with Earth Balance.
2. In a medium-large sized pot, bring almond milk to a low boil. Add in chopped dates and reduce heat to low. Cook for 1 minute, remove from heat, and stir in baking soda. It will froth up a bit.
3. Add the softened Earth Balance and brown sugar to the date & almond milk mixture and stir well until no clumps remain.
4. Add the dry ingredients (cinnamon, salt, 1/2 cup of pecans, and whole wheat pastry flour) into the wet and stir until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 27-28 minutes, or until the cake gently springs back when you touch it.
6. About 10 mins before the cake is done, make toffee sauce by whisking together the sauce ingredients in a pot (use the same one). Bring to a low simmer over medium heat then reduce heat to low, whisking frequently making sure it doesn’t burn. Heat while whisking for about 5 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.
7. Remove cake from oven, let it cool for a few minutes then prick with a fork or toothpick all over. As you can see from the picture, I went crazy with the fork, might have been a bit prettier with a toothpick. Pour the toffee sauce over the top of the cake (you can reserve the other 1/3 of the sauce for later to drizzle over top but I didn’t) and smooth out with a spoon or by tipping the dish all angles to let the toffee sauce fill all the cracks and crevices.
8. Scoop out onto plates, drizzle with remaining sauce (if you kept any, again, I didn’t), and top with toasted pecans. Serve with a side of vegan ice cream or whipped coconut cream.
Also, best served warm but damn delicious at room temp too!