For the holidays, we wanted a dessert that was complex and balanced. We started with Britain’s sticky toffee pudding—a steamed, too-often bland dessert hidden under a gluey, cloying syrup—and employed a bit of reverse-engineering, starting with the sauce. Instead of the traditional cream, we gave the toffee glaze a taste from home by spiking it with rye whiskey. For the cake itself, we wanted to mirror the flavor of the rye, so we used a blend of rye and all-purpose flours. Dates steeped in coffee, then pureed, gave body. Together, the nutty rye and bitter coffee balanced the cake’s sweetness.
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