Cashew Cake with Caramel Frosting and Cashew Toffee

(the cake is a Nestlé recipe)


  • ¾ cup butter or 150 g, softened
  • ½ cup sugar or 100 g 3.5 oz
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups unsalted cashew nuts or 150g, ground 5.5 oz
  • 1 cup plain flour or 140 g 5oz
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tin Sweetened Condensed Milk or 397 g 14oz
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb soda)


Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat using an electric beater until mixture changes in color or becomes smooth.

Add eggs gradually to the mixture with constant beating. Then add the ground cashew nuts, plain flour, vanilla, Sweetened Condensed Milk, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

Mix all ingredients until well combined. Pour the mixture into a 25cm x 30cm greased baking tin.

Bake in a 175ºC preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and top is golden.

Caramel Frosting

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (add more if frosting is too stiff)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 450g (16oz) confectioner’s sugar/icing sugar


Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar and cream. Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in confectioner’s/icing sugar until smooth. If frosting is too thick, add 1 tablespoon heavy cream at a time until consistency is right. Top with roughly chopped cashew toffee

Cashew Toffee

Toffee is such a simple thing to make and all you seasoned bakers and cooks will wonder why I’ve added so much detail. Well, why? Because I know so many people who shy away from making toffee, claiming it too difficult to get right, despite the apparent simplicity. If that’s you, I hope this helps.

This brings back such happy memories. I’ve lost count how many toffees I’ve made for school or church fairs and fetes over the years, particularly when my children were in primary (elementary) school. Usually the hot toffee was poured into paper cupcake cases and sprinkled with 100s & 1000s (nonpareils), coconut or crushed nuts (these days with the prevalence of allergies I wouldn’t send anything to a public event that contained nuts).

I’ve also set this recipe in molds, such as triangular-shaped shards to jazz up the decoration of a cake for special occasions – with or without nuts. For the cashew cake I simply poured the hot toffee onto a metal cookie sheet lined with greased baking paper, or any large, well-greased, flat pan with a lip to prevent overflow.

(Would make 12 individual toffees in cupcake papers)

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown (malt) vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped cashews


Ensure you have a jug of ice-water in the refrigerator.

Chop cashews.

Combine sugar, water and vinegar in saucepan, stir over a low heat until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to boiling and continue to boil rapidly. This process make take approximately 15-20 minutes approximately. The longer time for hard toffee – but take care as once it’s done it will begin to burn immediately.

The mixture will gradually turn brown and then golden. One trick I’ve learned over the years is to listen to the toffee. When it’s near to being ready it seems to be less noisy – the bubbling isn’t as intense.

To test: Fill a glass with ice-water and drop in a small amount of toffee. If there is a distinct crack, it’s ready. If unsure, scoop out the toffee and try it. If it’s pliable and soft to touch or eat, it’s not ready. Perfect hard toffee will immediately turn very hard in the ice-water. If you have to test a few times during the process use a fresh glass of ice-water each time because the water becomes warm during testing and won’t be effective.

Remove toffee from heat, allow bubbles to subside, pour onto your prepared pan. Allow to settle for a minute or two – no longer – and then sprinkle with chopped cashews. Any nuts can be used but this is specifically for the cashew cake.

When completely set and cold (don’t set in the refrigerator; allow to set at room temp.), cover it with a clean tea towel or kitchen towel, and break up with a rolling pin or similar. Sprinkle over the frosted cake.