Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

If you’ve never had sticky toffee pudding cake, what are you waiting for? A super moist date cake is smothered in a buttery, sweet, toffee sauce and drizzled with a touch of cream. Beautiful and delicious!

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding

I know I sound redundant this month, but truly, I have been so excited for every single recipe I’ve shared with you over the last few weeks, and today’s recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding is no exception.

You might have noticed I’ve posted a bit less than I normally have in holiday seasons past. That’s due to a lot of factors, but one of the main reasons is because I’ve been wanting to stay very dedicated to the idea of quality over quantity.

Cranking out holiday recipes is great (jealous of all those bloggers who can post every day!), but my life and time this year hasn’t been conducive to that plan, and honestly, it’s made me focus much more intently on giving you the best of the best recipes this holiday season.

This Sticky Toffee Pudding is just that. The best of the best.

Have you been fortunate enough to have this delectable dessert? It is amazing. Truly amazing.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding

I’ve had it a time or two over the years. My cousin Camille has raved about it, and most recently, my Aunt Marilyn made it for Brian and I after she returned from a trip to England and Ireland.

In a nutshell, Sticky Toffee Pudding is a British dessert classic.

A super tender cake, notably made with dates, is smothered in a silky toffee sauce, pecans (optional!), and drizzled with just a touch of cream.

You can leave it simple, of course…just that toffee sauce soaking into the perfectly sweet, delicious cake.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding

But adding a little spoonful of cream makes this already amazing cake absolutely magical.

My sweet friend, Sarah (from England), passed along this recipe to me. She’s a self-proclaimed Sticky Toffee Pudding expert and is the one who tipped me off that many British admirers of Sticky Toffee Pudding add the cream.

Of course, in the interest of staying authentic, I had to do the same.

Delicious. Oh my goodness, delicious.

I’ll leave it up to you whether to add the pecans. The addition of nuts in desserts is quite polarizing – I’ll just say, use your own free choice, and I promise all will be well.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding

I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without having a perfected Sticky Toffee Pudding cake recipe in my go-to recipe files.

So perfect for a holiday dessert, I’m thinking of switching out our traditional creme brûlée on Christmas Eve for these beautiful cakes.

Decisions, decisions.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding

In the details of the recipe, you’ll note that the cakes can be baked in individual ramekins for a truly elegant presentation. However, the cake easily transitions to an 8X8- or 9X9-inch baking pan.

Cut into squares and drizzled with the same delicious buttery, toffee sauce (and that cream!), it tastes equally amazing.

What I’m saying is: no need to run out and buy special ramekins or pans for this. I’m pretty certain you can easily use work with what you have.

Let’s do this!

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding

If you are new to dates, don’t be worried, scared, or put off.

They are easily found in most grocery stores (here’s a visual on Amazon, although my most cost effective purchase has been buying the Medjool dates at Costco – using the extras to make this dessert over and over…and pop one date at a time into our morning kefir smoothies for a touch of natural sweetness).

Finely chopping the dates and allowing them to soak briefly in the boiling water + baking soda + vanilla is key to the success of the soft, moist cake.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding

This British classic dessert is unbelievably delicious.

If you’ve never made it (or eaten it!), I hope you try it, I really do.

It’s one of those perfect desserts – so easy to make, with lots of make-ahead steps, and is completely impressive in presentation and taste.

As appropriate as this dessert is for an elegant holiday table, I have to confess, we’ve taken to making it for our Sunday dessert more often than not. I think Brian officially declared it in his top 5 favorite desserts of all time.

How can I argue with that? Especially when it is so simple.

There’s just something about it that is homey and comforting and at the same time over-the-top delicious. It’s a winner.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding

One Year Ago: Sparkling Cranberry Apple Cider Punch
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Pudding Pretzel Pie
Three Years Ago: Orange Zested Cranberry White Chocolate Bliss Bars {A Slightly Lighter Version}

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

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Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 6 ounces dates, pitted and finely chopped (about 8-10 medjool dates)
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup (6.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup (5.75 ounces) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick (4 ounces, 8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • Additional heavy whipping cream for drizzling (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 6 to 8 ramekins (about 6 ounces each) with butter or cooking spray or lightly grease an 8X8- or 9X9-inch pan.
  2. For the cake, in a medium bowl, stir together the dates, boiling water, baking soda and vanilla extract (see note for alternate method). Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, cream together the granulated sugar and butter with an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer) until well-combined and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and mix.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  7. Fold in the date mixture (no need to drain) until combined; don’t overmix.
  8. Fill the ramekins evenly with the batter, about 2/3 full, or spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  9. Bake the ramekins for 18-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top springs back to the touch (if using a square baking pan, bake for 22-25 minutes). Don’t overbake or the cake may be dry.
  10. Let the cakes cool completely in the pan(s) – although the cake can be served slightly warm also.
  11. For the sauce, combine the sugar, butter, cream, and salt in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the sauce is smooth and combined, 5-7 minutes.
  12. If the cake was baked in ramekins, turn out onto individual plates (if baked in a pan, cut the cake into squares). Pour the warm sauce over the individual servings, and sprinkle with pecans, if using; drizzle with a teaspoon or so of heavy cream, also optional but terribly delicious.

Notes:

Let’s talk dates for a second. I use large Medjool dates for this cake (visual here, although I’ve bought them mostly at Costco). Simply dig your fingers in and pull out the pit before chopping. They are sticky and sweet – chopping may seem a pain, but power through it. For a slightly easier option, consider combining the whole dates, boiling water, baking soda and vanilla in a blender or food processor and lightly pulling to chop the dates and combine.

The cake(s) can be made ahead, baked and frozen up to a month (or a day ahead of time – cover well overnight). Thaw and lightly warm the cake before serving. The sauce can also be made 1-2 weeks ahead of time and refrigerated. Warm lightly before serving.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I believe this recipe would do well baked in a 9X13-inch pan – instead of doubling, I’d probably 1 1/2 the recipe (unless you want an ultra-thick cake…then try doubling).

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Recipe Source: adapted a little from a recipe sent to me by Sarah W. (by way of Delia Smith)

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links to Amazon.