Hailing from the 1970s and reaching peak popularity in the ’90s, this pudding now sits alongside the likes of lemon delicious, rice pudding, and chocolate fondants as a classic.–Anneka Manning

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers are completely smitten with this classic sticky toffee pudding recipe. They’re describing it as “a moist, buttery, delicious, sweet pudding cloud” and “tender and just sweet enough.” It sounds pretty near perfect, doesn’t it?

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Medjool dates–If you can find pitted dates, this will save you a lot of time. You can also save time by chopping your dates in a food processor. The larger the pieces, the more noticeable they will be in the cake, so aim for pieces smaller than 1/4-inch (6 mm).
  • Self-rising flour–You can purchase self-rising flour at the supermarket, but it is easy to make at home. Simply combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Slick an 11-by-7-inch baking pan with melted butter and line it with parchment.
  2. Simmer the dates in boiling water until softened. Remove from heat, add the baking soda, and cool completely.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in the date mixture, and then the flour.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean.
  5. While the cake is baking, combine the butter, sugar, and cream in a saucepan. Heat until butter melts and cream dissolves, then simmer until thickened.
  6. Pour 1/4 of the hot toffee sauce over the hot cake. Let cool slightly. Serve the cake drizzled with the remaining sauce and ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of dates should I use?

We recommend pitted Medjool dates, if you can find them (or unpitted, if you can spare the time to free the stone from the flesh). They have an incredibly rich, sweet flavor, and their dark, caramelized color is perfect for this dessert.

How long will sticky toffee pudding last in the fridge?

Both the toffee sauce and the pudding will last 2 to 3 days in the fridge, and both can be rewarmed before serving. If you have leftovers, you can reheat them once in the microwave or oven.

What is the origin of sticky toffee pudding?

There are several claims to the true origin of this classic pudding, and it is unclear as to which is correct. However, the sticky toffee pudding we know and love today is widely believed to have come from the lake district in northwest England and spread in popularity from there.

What is sticky toffee pudding?

This classic British dessert consists of a moist dense spice cake that is filled with dates and topped with a rich toffee sauce. It is frequently served with vanilla ice cream, custard, or whipped cream. It bears no resemblance to creamy American-style chocolate pudding.

Helpful Tips

  • Use a large saucepan for simmering the dates as the mixture will foam up when the baking soda is added.
  • To speed up the cooling process, place the date mixture in the refrigerator.
  • To freeze the pudding, wrap individual portions of the pudding in plastic, and store the toffee sauce separately in airtight containers or resealable bags. The pudding and sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in a warm oven before serving.

More Great Pudding Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream on a white plate with a fork, beside a small bowl of extra toffee sauce.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

5 / 6 votes
Sweet, sticky, and completely addictive, it is always a crowd-pleaser. A classic British dessert made with sweet brown sugar and date sponge cake soaked in a buttery, rich, and delicious sticky toffee sauce. Top it with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineBritish
Servings8 servings
Calories373 kcal
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients 

For the cake

  • Melted butter, for the pan
  • 7 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (or combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt)
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, to serve

For the toffee sauce

  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup light cream or half and half

Instructions 

Make the cake

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Slick an 11- by 7-inch (28- by 18-cm) baking pan with melted butter and line the base and two long sides with one piece of parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang the sides.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the dates and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the dates are softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the baking soda and let cool to room temperature.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: The mixture will foam once the baking soda is added, so be sure to use a saucepan at least 2 quarts (1.9 l) in size.

  • In the bowl of a fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold in the cooled date mixture. Add the flour and fold in until just combined.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: It’s ok if the batter appears curdled before baking.

  • Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Make the toffee sauce

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugar, and cream. Stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove cake from the oven and pour over a quarter of the hot toffee sauce. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the warm pudding from the pan and cut into portions. Serve drizzled with the remaining warm toffee sauce, and ice cream or whipped cream on the side.

Notes

  1. Storage–The pudding will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store the sauce and pudding separately and reheat in a warm oven or the microwave before serving.
  2. Freezing–To freeze, wrap individual portions of the pudding in plastic, and store the toffee sauce separately in airtight containers or resealable bags. The pudding and sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in a warm oven before serving.
  3. Speed it up–To expedite the cooling process, place the date mixture in the refrigerator.
Bake Class Step by Step

Adapted From

Bake Class Step by Step

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 373 kcalCarbohydrates: 78 gProtein: 4 gFat: 6 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 64 mgSodium: 175 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 63 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Anneka Manning. Photo © 2021 Alan Benson. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These days Friday nights in our place consist of an evening with Ted Lasso and The Great British Bake Off, so I was really looking forward to eating my sticky toffee pudding as I cozied up to my evening of British TV. I’m no expert on sticky toffee pudding, in fact, I’ve never even tried it before last night.

This particular pudding recipe really set the bar high for me, too, because the result is a moist, buttery, delicious, sweet pudding cloud. The recipe is quick and straightforward as well, which I very much appreciate.

We found that vanilla ice cream is a bit too sweet to eat with it since the toffee sauce is sweet as well, and preferred plain whipped cream on ours instead. I let my date mixture cool off in the fridge, and that really does help it cool faster so that is something to keep in mind.

This isn’t a very rich dessert, and you’ll find yourself craving seconds. I had a slice the next day and everything reheated perfectly. It was still just as moist and buttery as the night before, too.

Anyone lurking on this website is sure to be a fan of Bake Off, so do yourself a favor and make this while you sip your cuppa, and feel even cozier than that show already makes you feel. After this past year and a half, we all deserve to relish in the simple happiness life has to offer.

Well, I am furious. Sticky toffee pudding has been on my list of things to make for ages, and now that I’ve made it, I realize how much time I’ve wasted. It is delicious and the ultimate comfort food. The cake itself is tender and just sweet enough.

I would have preferred dates more finely chopped – mine were between 1/4- and 1/2-inch – so they melted in a bit more and each bite had their fair share. The toffee sauce, which I made with half & half, is simple, buttery, and versatile. It’s found its way onto other things…I served the pudding hot out of the oven with sweetened whipped cream, then we had it again at warm room temperature.

For science, I reheated some for breakfast and it worked out quite well. You really can’t go wrong.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Yes this was the best! I made this for the first time last week for my husband’s birthday and he couldn’t stop raving about it. I had to hide the leftovers but it’s a keeper!

    1. Thanks, Janice. This is a great choice for a birthday dessert! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

  2. 5 stars
    Friday night…company coming for dinner and oh what dessert should we have. This sticky toffee pudding recipe seemed to be calling out to me. Hubby and I didn’t wait for the main event…we sampled it this afternoon just to make sure it was good enough to serve and now I am almost tempted to skip the dinner and just serve up dessert! The cake is the perfect density…it isn’t too sweet but with the buttery toffee sauce it is pure perfection. Thank you once more for another “keeper”.

  3. 5 stars
    Well, I’m always looking for a version of sticky toffee pudding to rival the one we ate at a small hotel on Isla in Scotland. But theirs was steamed — which is a very old way of making traditional British puddings and results in a more pudding-y texture than a cake texture. How do you think this recipe would work if it was steamed rather than baked? Any ideas or suggestions?

    1. Phyllis, I’d give this a try as written. When I made it, I found that it had more of a pudding-like texture than other baked recipes for sticky toffee pudding that I’ve tried.