For the dessert for our Christmas meal we’ve gone for an indulgent moist cake based on the traditional sticky toffee pudding recipe. Rather than use plain tea to soak the dates though, we’ve used beautiful smokey lapsang souchong tea, and added sweet persimmon with their subtle melon-like flavour to the mixture.
Rather like an upside down cake, the tin has a layer of muscovado sugar and persimmon slices added before the batter goes in, so that when the cake is turned out it has a beautiful design of caramelised persimmon on top.
And the caramel sauce is pretty special! We used tahini in it, to add an extra layer of toasty flavour which balances the sweetness.
All in all, it’s a delicious, different end to the festive meal!
makes 6 – 8 servings
for the date, tea and persimmon sauce
2 lapsang souchong tea bags
200 ml hot water
100 g stoneless dates, chopped
1 persimmon, chopped (remove the core if it is woody)
for the cake
225 g gluten free plain flour
225 g dark muscovado sugar
225 g vegan margarine
75 g plain soy yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
A pinch of salt
for the topping
5 thin slices of persimmon, about 2 mm each. Pick the slices with the attractive star shape in the middle, caused by the core.
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
for the tahini caramel sauce
100 g white sugar
4 tbsp tahini
100 ml soy milk
Preheat the oven to fan 180 degrees c and grease a 22 cm cake tin. Line the bottom of the cake tin.
Put the tea bags, water, dates and persimmon in a small saucepan on a medium low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 -15 minutes, until the persimmon is soft and the dates have broken down and thickened the sauce. Remove the tea bags and set the sauce aside to cool.
Spread the 2 tbsp of soft dark brown sugar over the bottom of the cake tin, and arrange the persimmon slices on top. They should not overlap.
In a large bowl mix together the sugar and margarine until well combined. Add the date, tea and persimmon sauce and mix well, then add the yoghurt and mix again. It will look lumpy at this stage.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt and then add to the bowl.
Mix until everything has come together to make a smooth batter.
Pour the batter carefully into the cake tin and smooth the top. Bake for 40 minutes, until the cake doesn’t wobble when you carefully shake it.
To make the tahini caramel, put the remaining white sugar in a heavy based saucepan on a low heat and cook until it melts and turns lovely deep brown. Don’t stir the sugar, but if it’s melting unevenly swirl it around the pan. Remove from the heat, add the tahini and stir quickly, then add the soy milk mixing all the time. It will bubble up! Mix until the sauce is smooth and glossy.
To serve, turn the cake out onto a decorative plate so that the persimmon slices are on the top, and drizzle with some of the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce in a jug to add as you please.
By A. and E.