Sticky Toffee Pudding is a classic British dessert where a super moist warm date cake is soaked in a rum toffee sauce and served with whipped cream or better - ice cream. Christmas is incomplete without this one!
Sticky Toffee Pudding is almost synonymous with Christmas - just like a good, old fashioned Plum Cake but most recipes online can be tricky because they ask for special ingredients like treacle which I haven't found easily in India.
So here's my attempt to create the ultimate Sticky Toffee Pudding but with whatevers easily available. Its rich, intense and tastes almost like gingerbread without any spices. The sponge is really soft from the dates, the warm rum toffee sauce seeps in and makes every bite so moist and when you top it with vanilla ice cream and more toffee sauce, you have a dessert that is impossible to stop eating!!
Ingredients for Sticky Toffee Pudding
I've broken the ingredients down into two parts. As you'll see the sponge and the cake both have very few basic ingredients, but the result is still stunning and perfect.
For the Date Sponge
Dates are key to the sponge. You can't taste them separately but they add that caramel like flavour and also keep the sponge soft and moist. The same with brown sugar. I don't recommend swapping it with white sugar because brown sugar also makes the sponge soft. You'll notice that the batter is quite runny because of the hot water, but don't worry, the final sponge has just the right texture.
For the Toffee Sauce
Caramel Sauce or Toffee Sauce may seem like a difficult thing but just needs a bit of patience. Watch the video to see how textures change from solid sugar to melting, runny sauce. The sauce should be runny and of pourable consistency. It can easily be made a week ahead and refrigerated and when you are ready to serve, just warm it up in the microwave and it'll come back to liquid consistency.
How to make Date Pudding
Here's a quick step by step to show you how to make this recipe:
1. Soak Dates with baking soda in hot water. This makes them easy to mash
2. Mash the dates with a potato masher till they break down almost completely
3. Cream together brown butter and sugar for a few minutes
4. Add eggs one by one and whisk them till fully incorporated
5. Sieve baking powder, salt and all purpose flour into the batter. Mix well.
6. Add mashed dates and whisk till the dates are incorporated
7. Pour hot water into the batter and mix till you have a runny batter
8. Pour the batter into a lined and greased 8X8 cake tin and bake
9. Heat brown sugar, lemon juice and water in a pan on medium heat till the sugar dissolves. Heat this for 5-6 minutes till the mixture is amber coloured
10. Add butter, cream and dark rum. Combine and mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated
11. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Add vanilla extract and mix.
12. The sauce should thicken and look glossy. When you run a spatula at the bottom, the gap should be clearly visible. Set this aside.
13. Poke holes in the cake once it comes out of the oven. It should still be warm.
14. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of the warm toffee sauce all over the cake. Rest this for 20-30 minutes to allow the cake to soak up all the sauce. The sticky toffee pudding is now ready to serve topped with ice cream and more toffee sauce!
The sponge can be refrigerated for later. For the best tasting pudding, always warm up the slices in a microwave before serving. The combination of warm, moist, sticky cake topped with cold ice cream is what makes this so so special.
Watch the Recipe Video
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Sticky Toffee Pudding
- 280 grams Pitted Dates
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Boiling Water 250 ml
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar Loosely Packed, 40 Grams
- 6 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter Softened, 80 Grams
- 2 Eggs at Room Temperature
- 1 ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour 185 Grams
- 1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
Rum Toffee Sauce
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar 200 Grams
- ½ Teaspoon Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 2 Tablespoons Butter 30 Grams
- ½ Cup Cream 125 ml
- ½ Cup Dark Rum 125 ml
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Add pitted dates to a bowl and sprinkle baking soda over them. Add boiling water and let them sit for 10-15 minutes or until the dates have softened.
- Mash the dates using a masher until it resembles a sloppy porridge. Small chunks are okay but make sure there are no large chunks. Keep aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper with an overhang.
- Add brown sugar and butter to a mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until the butter is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time and continue mixing until well incorporated.
- Sieve all purpose flour, baking powder and salt into the mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until combined.
- Add the cooled and mashed dates mix and beat on low speed to combine.
- Pour the batter into a greased and lined 8 inch square baking pan. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread the batter evenly. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake at 180C for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Rum Toffee Sauce
- While the cake is baking, make the rum toffee sauce. Add brown sugar to a saucepan along with lemon juice and water. Allow it to cook on medium heat until all the sugar dissolves.
- Continue to heat this over low heat until the sugar gets a golden amber colour, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add butter, cream and dark rum. Combine and mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes. It should resemble a smooth slightly thick sauce. Add vanilla extract and mix to combine. Set aside.
- Poke holes in the pudding once baked as shown in the video. While the pudding and sauce are still warm, pour ¾th of the sauce over the pudding and ensure it seeps through the holes.
- Let the pudding rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Heat the remaining sauce before serving. Use the overhang to remove the pudding from the pan. Cut and serve warm or chilled along with some extra sauce and vanilla ice cream.
- Adding baking soda to the dates before mashing them helps them break down easily. It also prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the tin while baking
- Make sure all the ingredients for the cake including butter are at room temperature.
- Make sure the date mixture has cooled completely before adding it to the cake batter
- It's important to pour the toffee sauce over the sponge and give it time to soak. This will result in a truly moist pudding.