Gooey Cinnamon Squares

I’ve been trying to find an excuse to bake this cake but other recipes seem to have taken precedence over the last few months and the opportunity just hasn’t arisen. However, with a Christmas Fair (organised by my mum for Harrison’s Fund) on the horizon it seemed the perfect excuse to turn this cake from an enticing picture on a website to one that I could actually eat (and obviously sell at the fair).

I suppose on paper, it is a little early to start going into Christmas mode, but to be honest, I don’t care! I love Christmas. I was cooking dinner last night wearing my Christmas jumper and I was definitely starting to feel just a little bit festive. I’d even considered whether I could crack on with getting Love Actually on the telly to put me in full festive swing.

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I’m not nearly as bad as my 3 year old nephew Ollie, (yes, I know, he’s only 3) he’s been singing non-stop Christmas tunes since July. If his parents can’t roll off all the reindeer names by name, then there’s no Father Christmas.

I’ve seen people tweeting that they’ve heard their first Christmas song on the radio, the Christmas ad’s from all the top retailers have hit our screens and the Coca Cola truck is on its way… ‘The holidays are coming!’

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And with that in mind, I’ve got some baking to test for the Christmas Fair in Liphook.

No bake sale is complete without some brownies and I recently saw Paul Hollywood had printed a recipe in the BBC GoodFood magazine for Christmas brownies which included mincemeat. Tick!

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I then thought something that had some Christmas spices like cinnamon might be inviting and more importantly might sell well to raise some money. I came across this Gooey Cinnamon cake recipe on David Leovitz’s blog , although it originated with The Smitten Kitten .

Gooey cinnamon sounded like a tasty combination which I hoped would encourage people to part with their hard earned cash and might just stand out from the crowd of cakes and treats on offer. To be sure I was onto a winner a test batch went into production on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

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The result was definitely something that was gooey with a nice hit of cinnamon. The golden syrup layer made the sponge sweet and moist and rather addictive. And the cinnamon prevented them being too sickly sweet although you don’t need much of a slice to get a sugar hit.

The top looks quite dark but according to the Smitten Kitten it should be like this because you’ve got a nice caramelised layer of sugar and cinnamon providing a bit of crunch to the top of the cake.

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These really are suitably delicious and dangerously tasty.

So, if you’re in the vicinity of Liphook on Saturday 30th November, come along to the Christmas fair you can find more details here. Doors open from 11am until 4pm, and it will take place at Liphook Millennium Centre.

Gooey Cinnamon Squares (from David Leovitz)

Makes about 25, 3cm squares

Cookie Base

190g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
60ml whole milk

Soft Gooey Layer

60ml golden syrup
60ml whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
155g cups plain flour

Cinnamon Topping

2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Method

Line a 9- by 13-inch cake pan with foil or baking parchment, leaving an overhang on all four sides. Spray the foil in the pan with nonstick spray or brush with melted butter.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

To make the cookie base

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt in a small bowl. Beat the butter and the sugar in a bowl or stand mixer until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and the milk and mix in, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the dry ingredients, until fully incorporated. Put the mixture in the cake pan in dollops (it’s too thick to spread if you add it all in the same place), and spread it into an even layer with an offset spatula.

To make the soft gooey layer

In a small bowl, whisk together the golden syrup with the milk and vanilla.

Beat the butter with the sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Add one-third flour, then half of the milk/corn syrup mixture. Add another one-third of the flour, then the rest of the milk/corn syrup mixture. Then stir in the remaining flour. Dollop the batter over the unbaked cookie layer and spread evenly.

Mix together the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle it evenly over the cake.

Bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until the cake feels slightly damp, but gently set in the center.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When cool, lift out the cake using the overhang of the foil, and cut the cake into 1-inch (3cm) squares.

(I ended up baking mine for an extra 15 minutes and put some foil on the top to prevent it going darker but the recipe state just 35 minutes is required. Whilst the cake is meant to be gooey and still quite springy coming out the oven, I think you can judge when you think it’s done rather than sticking rigidly to the 35 minute cooking time suggested).

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