Wednesday, June 3, 2009

(S)lumberjack (Millionaire) Cakes

I better start off by explaining the story behind the random naming of the Slumberjack Millionaire Cakes. I recently came across a recipe for a Lumberjack cake in The Essential Baking Cookbook and was eager to try it out since I had some apples and dates that I wanted to get rid of. I was also intrigued by the name. A quick google search on the origin of the Lumberjack cake does not reveal much at all, so the cake all the more interesting to me due to its mysteriousness.

The word lumberjack immediately makes me think of my Mum, because when the movie Slumdog Millionaire came out she spent a whole week thinking the name of the movie was Slumberjack Millionaire. I have no idea how she managed to do that, but it was HILARIOUS hearing her say it.

I only had dried dates instead of fresh ones, and dessicated coconut rather than shredded which were two of the main ingredients that the original recipe called for. I adapted the cakes into little cupcakes so that I could sneakily pass one to my dear friend Shaun while visiting his workplace on a site visit. (Yes, some people thought it was a little strange that I carried cakes around with me in my handbag) Anyway, the recipe had changed so much from the original that it seemed fitting that it got a name change as well :)

The cooking times were a bit annoying to figure out since not all my batter fit onto one cupcake tray and it got a bit complicated when I had to cook the coconut tops of half of them while still baking the bottom half of the rest of them. Also, the dried dates seemed to give the batter the tiniest hint of a chemical-like smell which I assume you wouldn't get from fresh dates. But the cake tasted wonderful, surprisingly it wasn't too sweet or heavy. The fruit seems to lighten the cake a fair bit and the crunchy coconut topping adds some wonderful flavour and texture. If you can get your hands on fresh dates and shredded coconut then its preferable, but I was quite pleased with the outcome using my substitutes :)

(S)Lumberjack (millionaire) Cakes

(adapted from The Essential Baking Cookbook)
For the cake:
200g Fresh or dried dates, pitted and finely chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and grated
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour

For the topping:

1 cup coconut (dessicated or shredded)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
75g unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a cupcake tray(s) with papers. Put dates in a small saucepan with with 1 cup of water and bring to the boil. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, then remove from the heat. Set aside until just warm.

Cream the butter and sugar in a a small bowl with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Stir in the date mixture and the apple, then fold in the sifted flours until just combined and almost smooth.

Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling them approximately 2/3 to 3/4 full. Smooth the surface with a small spatula or butter knife. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all the topping ingredients in a small saucean and stir over low heat until the butter is melted and the ingredients are well combined. Remove the cakes from the oven and carefully spread the topping over the tops of the cakes.

Return the cake to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the cake is cooked through. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave the cakes in the tin to cool completely.

Even with all the timing coordination issues that I had, these cakes turned out really tasty. The crunchy coconut top is great if you get it really dark golden brown so that it is almost like caramel because of the butter and brown sugar. They are also super moist even for such a light cake because of all the fruit. I love it when experiments are a success!

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  1. i think i'd love that topping

  2. The coconut topping looks & sounds delicious! I love a good crunch!

  3. Justin - it's pretty good! Though I think it would have been even better with shredded coconut instead of dessicated :)

    Betty - Me too! I love crunchy topped things :)

  4. Haha to Slumberjack Millionaire! I wonder where the lumberjack name came from - dates, apple and coconut aren't giving me any clues.

  5. I'd eat that coconut topping off on its own. That's how good it looks! Bahahaha!
    Btw, muffin cases ♥ we have the same! :)

  6. Mmm, they look so moist. And did you say caramel-y topping? Mmm, again!

  7. They look great! Have you read Amy Sedaris's I Love You: Hospitality Under the Influence? She has a chapter on entertaining Lumberjacks. Love the Sedaris family humour!

  8. What a great topping!!! They look fantastic!

  9. i have yet to try a recipe that has dates in it - this recipe looks easy enough! how many slumberjack cakes did you get out of this one?

  10. Arwen - I've been wondering the same thing, maybe the crunchy shredded coconut looks like wood shavings? Hmm thats seems like a far stretch...

    Trisha - I was doing that! I couldn't stop myself picking bits of the topping off while they were cooling :) Yay I have a huge stockpile of them, they're my favourite

    Simon - :D thanks! It makes me giggle and reminds me of my Mum

    Belle - Hehe thanks, they were pretty moist, and stayed that way the day after which is always good!

    Lorraine - Thanks so much! No I haven't, but it sounds hilarious!

    Anita - :D thank you!

    panda - dates are one of my favourite things to bake with; sticky date pudding!!! I think I got 18 slumberjack cakes from this :)


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