Vegetarian recipe ideas
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Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and line 2 x 20cm springform cake tins with baking paper.
Put the treacle, rum, milk and muscovado sugar in a pan with the chopped dates and stem ginger chunks. Bring to the boil, then bubble for 3 minutes to soften the dates. Use a hand blender to blitz the date mixture to a smooth purée – be careful, it will be hot! Stir in the diced butter until it’s melted, followed by the caramel and the eggs.
Combine the flour, bicarb and spices in a bowl, then make a well in the centre and pour in the warm date mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until the batter is lump-free. Divide between the two tins (weigh the mixture for really even layers), then bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins.
When the cakes are cool (or, if wrapped in clingfilm, the sponges will mature to an even tastier cake in a day or two) remove from the tins and make the icing. Beat the butter with electric beaters until soft, then beat in half the icing sugar. Beat in the remaining icing sugar with the vanilla extract, until the icing is fluffy and pale. Beat in the 4 tbsp caramel. Spread a thick layer of icing over one of the cakes and chill for 20 minutes to firm up, then sandwich the second cake on top. Spread the rest of the icing sparsely over the top and sides of the cake, filling any gaps where the sponges were sandwiched and scraping excess icing to give straight, clean, ‘naked’ sides. Chill for 30 minutes until the icing is cold and firm.
Break up the Caramac bars and melt with the ginger syrup. Remove the cake from the fridge and spoon over the melted sauce a spoon at a time, letting it run down the edges of the cake. It should cool and harden as it hits the cold icing, resulting in dribbles that stop before they hit the bottom of the cake.