Wine is best consumed with food and it can also make a fabulous addition to many recipes!

White Fortified Caramel Cake with Sticky Vanilla Syrup

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sticky, rich and a perfect match to our fortifieds.

The inspiration for this cake came from a Jill Dupleix recipe from Good Food that Mum saved from the paper for me. It featured Pedro Ximenez as its star ingredient. When I asked Mum if White Fortified would be a good substitute for PX, she replied that Grand Topaque would be better as it has similar rich and complex flavour profile.

As I thought many of you would not be willing to pour half a bottle of $85, twenty five year old Grand Topaque into cake batter, I continued with the White Fortified and have been quite happy with the result. This recipe uses butter (instead of olive oil in the original recipe) to give it a more caramel-like flavour. This cake is light and fresh with the hot, sticky syrup giving it a decadent flare. I challenge you not to lick the sweet, sticky saucepan clean when your guests leave!

If you have a barrel at home with White Fortified or Topaque, this is a great cake recipe to have on hand; however, if you don't and are looking for an economical way to buy our fortified wine, we sell 2 litre flagons of WF for $35. Use some in the cake and syrup and then pour the rest into a carafe to serve your guests.

Cheers, Natasha Killeen


For the cake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g sugar (I used 75g caster and 75g panela which has a caramel-like flavour and is also called rapadura. Alternatively, you can use light brown sugar)
  • 150ml White Fortified (or Rutherglen Topaque)
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 180g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
For the syrup:
  • 1 cup White  Fortified plus 2 extra tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup panela
  • 50g butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup hot water


  1. Heat oven to 180ºC. Line a 20cm round cake tin
  2. Beat sugar and eggs until thick and fluffy-about five minutes. Add White Fortified, melted butter and vanilla essence. Stir in sifted flour and baking powder, mixing well until very smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into the cake tin and bake for around 30-35 minutes or until it is golden and curved on top or when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Rest for 15 minutes.
  1. For the syrup, gently simmer White Fortified over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until it has reduced in size by three quarters. It will bubble and froth so stir regularly.
  2. In a separate saucepan, pour in caster sugar and panela and stir over low heat. Add two tablespoons of White Fortified to make a thick paste. Stir constantly whilst sugar caramelises and turns golden brown and fragrant.
  3. Add 50g butter and melt, stirring whilst it bubbles and froths. Add vanilla bean and seeds and 1/2 cup hot water. Turn up the heat and thicken, always careful not to burn the syrup.
  4. Add this caramel syrup to the White Fortified syrup, simmer on low heat for ten minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency. It should coat the back of a spoon but still be able to pour easily. Too long on the heat will turn it into  toffee where you have to bite it off the spoon! However, if it turns this way, you can always make Boozey S&K Ice Cream using WF or Topaque and swirl through the syrup to create a caramel flavoured treat.
  5. Discard vanilla bean
  6. Once the cake is cool enough to handle, transfer to a large plate and top with fresh figs and icing sugar. Either drizzle the hot syrup over the top or into a small carafe or jug.

You'll know the cake is ready when it is golden brown and starts to crack on top.