Surprises come in all shapes and sizes this episode. There’s Robert’s surprise birthday party, with Rose’s ‘gift’ to him (which turns out to be more of a gift to herself), and a few other things, good and bad. Since I’ve been skewing savoury on these blogs the past few weeks, I thought I’d go the sweet route and serve up some cake with a surprise of its own: a glorious molten toffee centre. Sticky toffee pudding is one of my favourite desserts, and this is essentially that, turned deliciously inside-out. Dig in, let that caramel gush on out, and be transported.

Molten Toffee Puddings

By James Martin, courtesy

For the Toffee Centre
100g soft brown sugar
75ml double cream, plus extra to serve

For the Cakes
75g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
75g soft brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
75g plain flour
Vanilla ice cream, to serve

To make the toffee for the centre, put the sugar and cream in a pan over a medium heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat and let the toffee bubble for 3 mins, until thick. Pour into a bowl and chill for 2 hrs until set.

Remove the toffee from the fridge. Use a dessertspoon to scoop out 2 walnut-sized pieces, roll into balls and pop back in the fridge until needed. Any remaining toffee can be reheated to make a sauce to serve alongside the puddings.

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Generously grease 2 small pudding moulds. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the flour and a pinch of salt. Divide the mixture between the moulds, reserving 2 tbsp. Push a toffee ball into each pudding, and cap off with the remaining mixture. The puddings can be frozen at this point or chilled for 2 hrs.

Put the puddings on a baking tray and cook in the centre of the oven for 20 mins. Turn the puddings out straight away, serve with ice cream and a little extra reheated toffee sauce, if you like. To cook from frozen, heat oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4 and cook for 35 mins.

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