Friday, 25 November 2011

Thanksgiving Mini Series: Pecan Toffee Cake

This is the third and final bake in the mini-series to celebrate Thanksgiving

In the summer between my first and second year at University I spent a few months working in America.

In a sweet shop. But of course.

I deputy managed a sweet shop named Candy Kitchen in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, the Blackpool of the East Coast of America. You could argue, as deputy manager of a sweet shop, I reached my lifetime career ambition by the age of 19.

I wore a bright pink t-shirt emblazoned with CANDY KITCHEN and sold boxes of taffy to the masses.

I really enjoyed the summer, not least because every single American I came across was so warm, welcoming and fascinated by this sales girl Deputy Manager with the funny accent. When asked, I'd say I was from Wales, which led to one very comedy exchange as one American couple enquired: 'Wales is a Communist country, right?'

Looking slightly aghast (had I been away that long?) I replied: 'Not as far as I know' before hotfooting it to the nearest internet cafe to email my family (Subject Matter: 'Has Wales become a communist country? Did I miss something? What's happened?! Reply ASAP')

This last post in the Thanksgiving mini-series is a Pecan Toffee Cake, the toffee being the next best thing I could find to taffy, THE best seller at Candy Kitchen.

I've adapted the recipe from Good Food Magazine, December 2008


100g pecans
140g stoned dates
200g butter
200g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
half a tsp ginger
half a tsp nutmeg
4 eggs, beaten
140g self-raising flour

1. Pop the dates in a small pan with enough water to cover the dates and boil for roughly five minutes until nice and soft. Drain, discarding the water and pop in a food processor. Whizz until smooth then leave to cool
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas Mark 4. Butter and line the base of a 23cm cake.
3. Beat the butter, sugar and spices together until light in colour and creamy. Tip in the date, eggs and a pinch of salt and beat until smooth
4. Fold in the flour, then spoon into the tin and level the top. 
5. Sprinkle the pecan nuts over the top and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack or alternatively serve warm

Baker's notes...

  • In true, holiday-season, indulgent fashion, generously drizzle maple syrup over the cake for a real all-American treat
  • Or serve with this maple ice cream
  • The original recipe had 100g ground pecans in the cake, but I'd run out of pecans. Oops. 
  • Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I LOVED reading about your US job! I worked and lived in the US many years ago, after leaving university, on the East Coast too, in Pennsylvania!

    That is a STUNNING cake Kate ~ another wonderful Thanksgiving offering for us! Thanks!


  2. Looks delicious, and I might even get over my dried fruit avertion as it is blitzed, you probably can't even taste it!

    Lifetime career ambition at age 19 .... I love it!!!

  3. Looks great! I really like the topping, it must have made a lovely crunchy contrast to the cake. Did you have to add more flour to make up for not having the ground pecans, or was it ok with just the original amount? Looks fab whatever though.

  4. been keeping up with your thanksgiving mini series, everything looks gorgeous. oh so decadent, ahhhh.

  5. I'm loving this Thanksgiving series Kate! Pouring syrup over this cake makes it sound even more indulgent.

    I'm quite upset with my blogger dashboard because I discovered today that it hasn't been updating your posts for some reason so I have a couple of weeks of your baking to catch up on!

  6. This looks amazing. I love pecan pie! Definitely serve with lashings of maple syrup :)

  7. how lovely. I lived in the states for 6 months too. it is fun going abroad for a bit. Love your recipe series here x

  8. What a good story! I bet they absolutely loved your accent over in the US. Hope you got to eat your weight in sweets too!
    Pecan toffee cake sounds like a winner to me xx

  9. Nice story about your accent. I am sure if you work in Malaysia, we will be fascinated by your British accent too:D The cake looks luscious.


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