I learned to love sticky pudding during a highly enjoyable trip to Scotland, where almost every menu featured the warm dessert of gooey cake and sauce. It occurred to me that the flavors would take well to an Americanization with pumpkin, and here is the result. It may well be the perfect dessert for an informal autumn gathering, as its beauty lies not in its homey looks, but in its rich flavor.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- One 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin (1¾ cups)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- Sweetened whipped cream, for serving
1. To make the cake, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 13 × 9-inch baking pan.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs. Beat in the pumpkin. If the mixture curdles, do not worry. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, beating until smooth after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Spread in the baking pan.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the sticky toffee sauce. Melt the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often to help dissolve the sugar. Whisk in the cream and bring to a boil, taking care that the mixture does not boil over. Cook uncovered, whisking often, until the sauce is glossy, smooth, and thick enough to nicely coat a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes. Turn off the burner so the sauce is kept warm by the burner’s residual heat.
5. When the cake is done, transfer it to a wire cake rack. Using a meat fork, pierce the cake all over. Pour and spread about 1 cup of the toffee sauce over the cake. Let stand for 10 minutes.
6. Spoon the warm cake into individual bowls, top with more of the warm sauce, and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.