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individual sweetness

I made these luxurious little toffee cakes for the last class of my three-week series at Les Gourmettes Cooking School last Wednesday night and then served them again for a dinner party at a friend’s home last night. They are a true Christmas treat. Make, share, and enjoy!

Individual Warm Sticky Toffee Cakes

Toffee Sauce
1  1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1  1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup pure maple syrup

Ramekin Prep
Softened butter
Granulated sugar

Toffee Cakes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup pitted and coarsely chopped dates
8-ounce container mascarpone, lightly whipped

Toffee Sauce: In a large heavy saucepan, combine the cream, butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup.  Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking frequently.  Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat.  Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until thickened and emulsified.   Makes about 4 cups

Ramekin Prep: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Butter ten (3-ounce) ramekins with softened butter and dust with granulated sugar. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. And place prepared ramekins on the baking sheet.

Toffee Cakes: Whisk the baking soda into the boiling water.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of a standing mixer beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. Over low speed, add half of the dry ingredients, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the remaining half; scraping again to make sure the batter is well mixed.

Over low speed, slowly stream the hot water into the batter.  Add the dates and continue mixing over low speed until the batter thickens.

Use a ladle to divide the batter between the prepared ramekins. Try to give each ramekin an equal amount of dates and then go back and finish by filling about 2/3 full with the remaining batter.

Bake in the preheated oven until the cakes are a dark, caramel color, about 38 to 40 minutes.

Remove the ramekins and cool for 7 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the inside edge of each ramekin and then invert the cakes onto a rack that is set over the same foil-lined baking sheet.

Pour the hot toffee sauce onto the cakes until they are saturated.  Then glaze the cakes a second time with the sauce that has pooled at the bottom of the foil-lined baking sheet. Set the cakes aside for about 30 minutes to set up and cool.

To serve, place each cake into a small serving bowl, and pour about 1/4 cup of the warm toffee sauce.  Serve with a generous dollop of whipped mascarpone.

The cakes can be made a few hours in advance, loosely covered with plastic wrap, and left at room temperature.

Serves 10  

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