Sticky Toffee Pudding

I discovered a love of all things British when my daughter moved to London many years ago. During those years, we visited often. She was a good reason to cross the pond, of course, but she’s also a very good tour guide, and did especially well taking us to fabulous restaurants.

At one gastropub, called Vinoteca, I ordered dessert after brunch. It was Mum’s Day, after all. My daughter also explained that all desserts in England are called puddings. I mean, I was served my Sticky Toffee Pudding, and it’s a cake! But there, it’s a pudding!

The “pudding” didn’t look like much. It was just a square of golden brown cake. But it was hot, topped with gooey caramel and slowly melting vanilla ice cream, so I knew it would be good.

Well, I have to say. It was sweet heaven on a plate.

I never wanted to have it again because that experience was so perfect, but about a year after that, my husband and I went with our daughter to the Lake District of Northern England, in Cumbria. We stayed at a delightful bed and breakfast outside of Coniston that served fabulous meals.

And, one night, they served us sticky toffee pudding. It was even better than what I had in London. I later discovered that the birthplace of Sticky Toffee Pudding is the Lake District!!! But why it was even better I will never figure out.

I’ve looked at many recipes for sticky toffee pudding since, and they’re all similar. The “cake” is made with dates. And how did dates appear in northern England?!!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

cake:
6 ounces finely chopped dates
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 ounces boiling water
8 ounces self-rising flour
2 1/2 ounces butter, at room temperature
6 ounces white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature

sauce:
7 ounces brown sugar
3.5 ounces butter
5.3 ounces heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, cut into fourths

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8″ square baking dish; set aside.

Place the dates in a small saucepan along with the baking soda. Add the boiling water and give the dates a stir. Place the pan over a burner and once they’re boiling, boil them gently for about a minute; this breaks them down a little more. Set aside the pan and let the dates cool for at least 30 minutes.

Sift the flour into a small bowl and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, and the eggs, and mix thoroughly.

Add the somewhat cooled date mixture to the butter mixture and beat well; you can’t overbeat. Switch to a spoon, and add the sifted flour. Stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce:

Place all of the ingredients into a small saucepan. Heat the pan slowly over medium heat, until the butter has melted. Let the mixture cook for about five minutes: it will have thickened.

After the cake has baked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven. Put about 4 or 5 tablespoons of the caramel sauce on top of the cake and spread it around to cover the cake completely. Then return the cake to the oven for 2 minutes.

Serve the cake hot or warm, drizzled with the sauce.

A scoop of ice cream is optional!

 

By Published On: January 31st, 202253 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

53 Comments

  1. BERNADETTE January 31, 2022 at 6:45 AM - Reply

    Your “pudding” looks heavenly. And thanks for the heads up that all cakes in the U.K. are called pudding.

    • Chef Mimi January 31, 2022 at 12:46 PM - Reply

      All desserts are puddings. Bandaids and plasters. Sweaters are jumpers. My son-in-law thanked me for his jumper, and it really took me a long second!

      • BERNADETTE January 31, 2022 at 5:39 PM

        I can imagine!

  2. Jeff the Chef January 31, 2022 at 9:56 AM - Reply

    Mmm! I make a cake like this at Christmas time, and I put caramel and kumquats on the bottom of the pan, so they wind up on the top of the cake. You’ve really got me in the mood to make it again!

    • Chef Mimi January 31, 2022 at 12:45 PM - Reply

      Wow! That sounds incredible!

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen January 31, 2022 at 9:58 AM - Reply

    The sweet teeth in my family would love this dessert, especially the sticky topping!

    • Chef Mimi January 31, 2022 at 12:45 PM - Reply

      It’s not even overly sweet, which is what I love. And so so so good with ice cream.

  4. Sippitysup January 31, 2022 at 12:23 PM - Reply

    Simply the best stuff. GREG

    • Chef Mimi January 31, 2022 at 12:44 PM - Reply

      It truly is.

  5. thatskinnychickcanbake January 31, 2022 at 3:02 PM - Reply

    Oh, boy, my mouth is watering! I have dates in the pantry to make this dessert, but waiting to gather with some friends so I don’t eat it all myself! Not that I wouldn’t love to :)

    • Chef Mimi January 31, 2022 at 5:52 PM - Reply

      Smart. Very smart!

  6. Tandy | Lavender and Lime January 31, 2022 at 9:55 PM - Reply

    We were in Coniston a few years ago. It’s beautiful there and I regret now not trying the sticky toffee pudding. Maybe I will find that gastro pub in London in June?

  7. Katherine | Love In My Oven January 31, 2022 at 9:59 PM - Reply

    We LOVE sticky toffee pudding. It’s one of my husband’s favorite desserts. I have been meaning to put one on the blog as well. We always have dates in the pantry. I wish I could take a bite out of yours!

    • Chef Mimi February 2, 2022 at 9:28 AM - Reply

      I can guarantee it’s good, but I know there are variations. We should compare!

  8. 2pots2cook February 1, 2022 at 4:17 AM - Reply

    Wow ! Explosion of goodness indeed !

    • Chef Mimi February 2, 2022 at 9:27 AM - Reply

      Exactly!!!

  9. neil@neilshealthymeals.com February 1, 2022 at 4:51 AM - Reply

    This is a huge pub favourite here in the UK and also a huge favourite of Lynne’s! I thank you for reminding me of when I too enjoyed this on our travels in The Lake District. Think I might need to put this on the menu for Valentines day!

    • Chef Mimi February 2, 2022 at 9:27 AM - Reply

      Ohhh, that would be delicious!!

  10. Ann Coleman February 1, 2022 at 4:40 PM - Reply

    I remember being confused by the English tradition of calling desserts puddings the first few times I read about it. But that dessert would be wonderful no matter what it’s called!

    • Chef Mimi February 2, 2022 at 9:26 AM - Reply

      I have a British son in law, so I have to be on the ball when we’re all visiting!

  11. Linger February 1, 2022 at 7:19 PM - Reply

    Oh! My! Goodness!! A definite piece of heaven on a plate. Serving it warm with a scoop of ice and drizzled with sauce would take it over the top. What a great recipe. As always Mimi, thanks so much for sharing.

    • Chef Mimi February 2, 2022 at 9:26 AM - Reply

      You are so welcome!!!

  12. spicedblog February 2, 2022 at 6:45 AM - Reply

    I love sticky toffee pudding! I’ve eaten it on occasion in Europe (back when we could travel), and it was always delicious. I keep thinking about trying my hand at it here at home, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Interesting that dates are a key ingredient – I had no idea!

    • Chef Mimi February 2, 2022 at 9:21 AM - Reply

      I know! Everyone is surprised! But that is probably why I Ike it. Dates are naturally sweet, but not overly sweet.

  13. kitchenriffs February 2, 2022 at 10:21 AM - Reply

    I’ve never been to the Lake District, and really want to visit it one of these days (will we ever travel again?!). I’ve had sticky toffee pudding, but never made it. Definitely want to try your recipe — it’s been years since I’ve had this. Thanks!

    • Chef Mimi February 3, 2022 at 8:51 AM - Reply

      It’s such a beautiful area. England is just incredible.

  14. For the Love of Cooking February 2, 2022 at 11:25 AM - Reply

    Oh boy. This one has me drooling. YUM!

    • Chef Mimi February 3, 2022 at 8:50 AM - Reply

      Yeah. It’s good!

  15. terrie gura February 2, 2022 at 1:21 PM - Reply

    Ooooh, that caramel sauce! This looks perfectly amazing, but at my house, no way would the ice cream be “optional!” Haha

    • Chef Mimi February 3, 2022 at 8:49 AM - Reply

      It really works with the sweetness, too. Kind of mellows it out. Plus, well, it’s ice cream!

  16. Jean February 2, 2022 at 7:14 PM - Reply

    I love recipes that come with this kind of story. How fun to remember your UK trips each time you have sticky toffee pudding. Yours looks wonderful and if I ever decide to make it at home I’ll borrow your recipe.

    • Chef Mimi February 3, 2022 at 8:49 AM - Reply

      It’s a wonderful recipe!

  17. David Scott Allen February 2, 2022 at 10:54 PM - Reply

    The last dessert anyone made us before we moved from Maine to Tucson sticky toffee pudding! I’ve never had anything like it, I made sure I got the recipe. The recipe is long lost, but now I have yours. Thanks Mimi!

    • Chef Mimi February 3, 2022 at 8:49 AM - Reply

      Perfect. I guarantee this is a great recipe!

  18. Cynthia M Woodman February 2, 2022 at 11:02 PM - Reply

    Hi Mimi! Sticky toffee pudding reminds me of my time in England. Yours looks delicious!

    • Chef Mimi February 3, 2022 at 8:48 AM - Reply

      It’s so British!

  19. Raymund February 3, 2022 at 12:27 AM - Reply

    This is one of my favourite cakes, very potent but once done right the sweetness mellows down with all of the other cake elements, love your recipe

    • Chef Mimi February 3, 2022 at 8:47 AM - Reply

      Interesting because I couldn’t eat it if it was too sweet. The ice cream also mellows out the caramel….

  20. Sherry M February 3, 2022 at 2:18 AM - Reply

    that’s funny. i would never call sticky toffee pudding a cake as you can’t really pick it up and eat it as is. you need a spoon! Love your new (?) hairstyle in the photo.

    • Chef Mimi February 3, 2022 at 8:47 AM - Reply

      It’s a cake to me before it gets all gooey! And thanks. Trying to grow all my gray out, so it’s short until that happens. I needed to update the photo!

  21. Healthy World Cuisine February 3, 2022 at 8:26 AM - Reply

    Want to sink my spoon into this delicious toffee pudding. So much better homemade. Mark and Spencer used to sell a very good sticky toffee pudding but yours would beat it hands down.

    • Chef Mimi February 3, 2022 at 8:46 AM - Reply

      Probably! Anything home made has to be better!

  22. Debra February 3, 2022 at 6:45 PM - Reply

    I’ve only had what I’d call good Sticky Toffee Pudding once, and I never forgot it. I never even thought of making it myself, but I’d love to make this recipe. It made my mouth water just reading your description. Now I’d really like to have it in London, but maybe I can do that someday, too! :-)

    • Chef Mimi February 4, 2022 at 11:30 AM - Reply

      I hope you can! And not only i London, but in a cute hotel pub/restaurant in the Lake District!

  23. carrietalkingmeals February 4, 2022 at 1:13 PM - Reply

    This looks amazing! I’ve never tried Sticky Toffee Pudding, but you have sold me! Definitely saving this

    • Chef Mimi February 6, 2022 at 9:58 AM - Reply

      It’s so good! Not terribly pretty, but so good.

  24. Elena Bourke February 7, 2022 at 7:59 AM - Reply

    SO decadent. SO delicious. I enjoy it at Christmas time, most especially, but have never made it myself. Great to have a recipe now!

    • Chef Mimi February 7, 2022 at 9:13 AM - Reply

      And it’s a good one ! Enjoy it!

  25. Valentina February 15, 2022 at 1:55 PM - Reply

    So fun you were able to travel so much in England with your daughter. The pudding sounds amazing. I’ve never made one and had not idea dates were in it. I guess that’s part of the “sticky.” :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi February 15, 2022 at 4:34 PM - Reply

      Between the dates and the caramel, it’s definitely sticky!

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