This classic British dessert has become one of my favourite desserts to make at home. It consists of a light moist dark sponge, sweetened with dates and soaked in a delicious rich toffee sauce. I normally don’t tend to order this dessert when I go out to eat as I find it can sometimes be overly sweet, however I’ve perfected my recipe so it’s lighter on the sugars, but still super delicious. I also go against tradition by adding a tiny bit of cinnamon to the sponge. Now, the cinnamon flavour is not at all dominant in the end result, but you catch a hint of it as you eat the sponge and it really compliments the toffee-ness.

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Even if you’re not a fan of dried fruit in cakes or desserts, please do not over look this pudding. You really will not be able to tell that the dates are present in the sponge – especially since in my version I blend my dates before they are added to my sponge cake batter. This pudding is very easy to make and the flavour of the sponge coupled with the toffee sauce is superb.


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Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Medjool Dates: This is the main sweetener in the sponge. It has a natural sweet toffee flavour and gives the sponge a lovely gooey moistness.
  • Tea Bag: Traditionally the dates are first soaked in tea prior to being mixed into the sponge batter. I’m not sure exactly why the tea is needed as there is no underlying tea flavour in the resultant cake, but it works.
  • Muscovado Sugar: Adds to the toffee flavour.
  • Butter: I use lightly salted butter in the sponge as well as in the toffee sauce as the saltiness contributes towards the toffee flavours.
  • Cream: This is used to make the toffee sauce. Double cream is typically used, but I use Elmlea Plant Double Cream Alternative and the resultant sauce is divine (you would never tell that it’s not dairy).

How To Make Sticky Toffee Pudding

Step One: Pre-heat oven to 160 °C fan (180 °C conventional/Gas mark 4/ 350 °F), and grease and line a rectangular baking tin roughly 21 cm x 30 cm (the base should be roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper).

Step Two: Place 175 g Medjool dates in a ceramic bowl, pour over 150 ml hot water, add 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and an English tea bag. Leave them to soak for at least 10 minutes, then remove and discard the tea bag and add in 1 tsp vanilla essence. Blitz the dates and the liquid in the blender for around 10 to 20 seconds until a smooth paste is formed. I use my Nutribullet for this.

Step Three: In the meantime, cream together 175 g lightly salted butter, 30 g brown sugar and 40 g muscovado sugar, and then whisk in 2 medium eggs, 100 ml whole milk and the date paste from Step One.

Step Four: Sift in 175 g self-raising flour and 0.25 tsp cinnamon, and fold them in to the liquid ingredients.

Step Five: Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean.

Step Six: In the meantime make the toffee sauce. Place 75 g lightly salted butter, 70 g muscovado sugar and 150 ml double cream into a small saucepan over a gentle low heat. Cook until the butter and sugar has melted and the mixture is smooth, around 10 minutes. Do not allow it to bubble or boil.

Step Seven: When the sponge has baked remove it from the oven and spoon and smooth out half of the toffee sauce over the top. Leave the sponge for around 10 minutes to absorb the sauce before cutting it into squares and serving with the remaining warm toffee sauce.

How To Serve Sticky Toffee Pudding

  • Serve the warm sponge with warm toffee sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Tips for Making Sticky Toffee Pudding

  • Soak the dates in hot water with a tea bag for at least 10 minutes to soften them up. Some people just mash the soaked dates with a fork, however I prefer a smoother sponge so I put the dates and all the liquid in the blender.
  • When preparing your baking tin, there’s no need to be neat. Simply grease the tin with butter and then cut a large rectangle of baking paper, slightly larger than the size of your tin to account for the sides. Scrunch the baking paper tightly into a ball and then un-crease it and smooth it into the tin. Don’t worry if the paper doesn’t sit flush against the tin as the sponge batter will expand as it bakes. The flavours definitely surpass the presentation in this dessert.
  • Go slow when making the toffee sauce – use a low heat and be patient. Do not allow it to boil as this will alter the flavour and texture of the sauce.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe


Serves:
12
Preparation Time:
15 minutes
Cooking Time:
25 – 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the sponge:

  • 175 g Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 150 ml hot water
  • 1 English tea bag
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175 g lightly salted butter
  • 30 g brown sugar
  • 40 g muscovado sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100 ml whole milk (or oat milk)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 175 g self-raising flour

For the toffee sauce:

  • 75 g lightly salted butter
  • 70 g muscovado sugar
  • 150 ml double cream (or plant-based alternative)

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 °C fan (180 °C conventional/Gas mark 4/ 350 °F), and grease and line a rectangular baking tin roughly 21 cm x 30 cm (the base should be roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper).
  2. Place the dates in a ceramic bowl, pour the hot water on top and add the bicarbonate of soda and the tea bag. Leave them to soak for at least 10 minutes, then remove and discard the tea bag and add in the vanilla essence. Blitz the dates and the liquid in the blender for around 10 to 20 seconds until a smooth paste is formed. I use my Nutribullet for this.
  3. In the meantime, cream the butter and the sugars together and then whisk in the eggs, milk and the date paste.
  4. Sift in the flour and the cinnamon and fold them in to the liquid ingredients.
  5. Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean.
  6. In the meantime make the toffee sauce. Place the butter, sugar and cream into a small saucepan over a gentle low heat. Cook until the butter and sugar has melted and the mixture is smooth, around 10 minutes. Do not allow it to bubble or boil.
  7. When the sponge has baked remove it from the oven and spoon and smooth out half of the toffee sauce over the top. Leave the sponge for around 10 minutes to absorb the sauce before cutting it into squares and serving with the remaining warm toffee sauce.

NOTES

  • This is great served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the remaining warm toffee sauce.

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