Nostalgia had me thinking of that old favourite, Sticky Toffee Pudding, so I turned those flavours into a sturdy everyday cake with more than a little holiday edge. To bolster the festive feeling, I added a splash of rum, citrus zest and three types of ginger. The resulting effect is part sticky toffee pudding, part the best qualities of fruitcake, and, for cocktail fans, part Dark and Stormy. It is a cake suited for a cup of tea or coffee, for a moment's peace in the afternoon or a leisurely recline after dinner.
The cake is not markedly boozy once baked, but the rum complements the bristling warmth of the ginger and spices, while the dates and walnuts break up the perfectly stodgy crumb. The toffee sauce, which is stirred together while the cake bakes, is a twofold boon – brushed on the cake while warm, it soaks in and contributes to the aforementioned stodge, and shellacs the exterior in a shining glaze. The rest gets saved for serving, and the luscious amber looks especially pretty against a swirl of barely whipped cream.