A gorgeously plated dessert creates an anticipation that has the potential to elevate a simple sweet to a whole new level. But when I'm home alone in a threadbare t-shirt and pajama pants, and I start craving sugar, I'm not really looking for a deconstructed summer berry patch. A carton of ice cream, a jar of homemade strawberry preserves and a spoon will suffice. Food does not have to be beautiful to taste good.
So what do I do when the urge strikes for something sweet, gooey and rich? Well... I'd probably make this 5 Minute Sticky Toffee Pudding (or at least it's what I'll be making from this day forth)
Yea, I know, it kinda looks like something you might find on an alien planet, but stop looking at the picture for a moment and focus on my words. Despite its pock-marked appearance, the date sweetened pudding has a moist fluffy texture like a good sponge cake, and it tastes like caramel and vanilla. The sticky toffee sauce that sits at the bottom of the mug creates a layer of dense custard that tastes like butter caramel, and the remaining sauce flows down the side of the cake like a delectable toffee volcano. When paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the hot pudding melts some of the ice cream, which flows into the sauce creating rivers of cool vanilla bounded by lakes of molten toffee.
I like to think that I'm a pretty decent writer, but I can't find words to describe how good this combination is. And to think... this recipe almost went into the reject pile. Actually I'd already decided that it wasn't going to get posted based on the way it looks, and yet somehow I ended up making it another four times before changing my mind, because it's THAT good.
As for the looks, I've tried making it a bunch of different ways, and what I've found is that although you can make it look marginally better, the extra effort detracts from the beauty of this, which is that it comes together in under 5 minutes. The fundamental problem here is in the way the microwave cooks (by exciting water molecules), which creates those huge craters on the exterior surface of the cake as the water turns to steam. Also, because of the liquid toffee sauce at the bottom of the mug, when you pour the batter in, it kind of swirls with the sauce, creating a wildly irregular surface on top. None of this affects the way it tastes though, which is why this is the perfect dessert for night in when you just need something delicious and sweet.
If you have more time and you're looking for something sinful to share, my Sticky Toffee Bread Pudding should fit the bill, and it's somewhat more attractive on the plate.
- 1 tablespoon cultured unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon water
Sticky Toffee Pudding
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream (35%+ fat)
- 2 tablespoons date syrup
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Add the butter to the mug and microwave for a few seconds until it is melted. Swirl the butter around to coat all the sides of the mug. Add the brown sugar and water to the bottom of the mug.
- Put this back into the microwave and microwave until the sugar is totally melted and you have a thick bubbly sauce (about 30 seconds).
- Beat the egg, heavy cream, date syrup, vanilla extract and salt together until well combined. Sprinkle baking powder onto the batter and mix until just incorporated. Add the flour and fold together until there are no lumps remaining, but do not overmix, or your pudding will become chewy.
- Pour the sticky toffee pudding batter into the mug.
- Microwave the pudding until it rises to the top of the mug and stays there for a few seconds. This takes 1 minute 20 seconds at 800 watts in my microwave.
- Invert the sticky toffee pudding onto a plate and let the sauce drip down the sides.