If you’ve never had this amazing British classic dessert, 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

Yield: Serves 6-9

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

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).

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 above 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.
https://www.melskitchencafe.com/sticky-toffee-pudding/

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.

53 Responses to Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

  1. Jen says:

    My family loved this unique dessert. We will definitely make it again next Christmas.

  2. Lindsey Darley says:

    My cook time took way longer than 22 minutes. The cake was still jiggly at that time. I think we are going on 30 minutes and the center is still gooey.

  3. Marek S. says:

    STOP. This past Sunday was the second Sunday in a row I’ve made this in ramekins. My family loves it so much…and maybe because the kids went to bed earlier they ended up not getting ANY! That’s because I ate it all. Truthfully. I did. Anyhoo, confessions aside, I want to make this for my daughter’s first birthday in a few weeks and I was toying with the idea of baking this in silicon cupcake liners (smaller portions for a larger crowd). Do you think this is doable? And if so, how much do I adjust bake time for?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Marek, I think it’s totally doable. Depending on how full the silicone cupcake liners are, I’d bake them for right around 11-14 minutes.

  4. Caroline says:

    We made this for Christmas Eve dinner and it was the perfect dessert for a special occasion! We all loved it so much and it just felt like a special treat. Thanks for this awesome recipe. I think we will make a Christmas Eve tradition of it!

  5. Ellen says:

    I made this recipe today. I used an 8 X 8 inch square aluminum pan (Wilton) and baked 27 minutes. (A dark pan or glass dish would take a shorter time, I believe.) The cake was moist and perfect. And the sauce is divine. This is such an easy and impressive dessert, and tastes wonderful!

  6. Kristin says:

    We had the sister missionaries over for Christmas Eve dinner and one had lived in Scotland for 10 years. When I told them we were having Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake for dessert, she pretty much cried and said that she had been missing her mom’s that she always made on Christmas Eve and wished she could have it…tada! A Christmas miracle! Thanks, Mel, for playing a key role in that miracle! She loved it (along with everyone else)! Absolutely decadent!

  7. Mattie says:

    I made this for my daughter’s birthday cake on Christmas Eve and everyone was obsessed. It was divine and I can’t wait for an excuse to make it again!

  8. Sheree L says:

    Made this for Christmas Day dessert and loved it! Though, I think next time I’ll make a little more of the sauce 🙂 Thanks, Mel!

  9. Jules says:

    Making this today, so excited!

  10. Loren says:

    This recipe has me drooling already, can’t wait to try it! xo Loren // http://www.thinkelysian.com

  11. Candace says:

    You saved the very best for last, thank you so much!!
    Have yourself some very restful (ha!) and Happy Holidays. You deserve it.
    Look forward to seeing what you’ve got planned for 2017.

  12. Diane says:

    What if…I served with Lemon Curd from the perfect Lemon Cheesecake recipe?? Which is absolutely awesome, by the way! Love you, Mel!

  13. Lauren Stacey says:

    I just moved back from London and Sticky Toffee was by far the best thing I tasted there. I’m excited to try out this recipe. We always ate it with custard which evens out the sweetness really well 🙂

  14. Juicer Beets says:

    You are officially my hero! Can’t wait to try this!

  15. Becca says:

    I moved to the UK a decade ago and Sticky Toffee Pudding is what I will pick anytime we are out and about. It is my absolutely favourite pudding. And the cream is a must! Heavy cream drizzled over a pudding/cake is incredibly common and with this one it is so great. Because it is so readily available at pubs, in-laws and the grocery store I haven’t yet made it myself. Thanks for the nudge.

  16. I think it’s funny that you said you’ve cut back on posts because I feel like you always are posting recipes! I can barely get out two a week if I’m lucky. I’m with you on quality over quantity. This food blog world is a rat race and I will not let it get the best of me. By the way, you had me drooling over this one.

    • Mel says:

      I have a feeling we would have a lot in common (and to talk about) if we are ever fortunate to meet in real life. Amen to everything you said.

  17. Jess says:

    This is my favorite dessert of ALL TIME!!! First tried it in Ireland in a tiny pub in Dingle, surrounded by old men speaking Gaelic…a warm peat fire burning… and the waitress set it down and simply said, “You’re in for a treat” and walked away. It was AMAZING!!! I have since found a recipe (similar to this one) and I make it more often than I probably should. In a pinch the dried, chopped, bagged dates I find by the raisins will work as the softening in the water/soda helps “rehydrate” them some. I “chop” them just a bit more in my food processor, then soak. Much less messy and worth it to save time trying to chop real dates!

  18. Paige says:

    This looks absolutely divine! I nee this in my life!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  19. Jackie says:

    Sticky Toffee Pudding is probably my favorite dessert! So delicious! I love your idea of baking them in ramekins and wondered what kind of ramekins do you use?

  20. Colleen says:

    I fell in love with sticky toffee pudding while we were in England last year. As someone who would choose caramel over chocolate, I think it’s divine! Instead of ramekins, do you think using a silicone muffin pan would work well?

  21. Bryn says:

    Would adding pecans to the cake batter work? We have some serious nut lovers here! This looks amazing and will be replacing the previously planned Christmas Eve dessert

  22. Amber Petersen says:

    You have made my dreams come true! I went to England 8 years ago and had Sticky Toffee Pudding there and have never been able to make one that replicated the one I had and fell in love with. Im hoping this is the one! 🙂

  23. Kate says:

    Oh my heck, my family LOVES this desert and I can’t wait to try your recipe. We always eat them warm. To ratchet up the deliciousness a notch we poke the top of the cakes with the chopstick before pouring the sauce on so the sauce can really penetrate the cakes. I think your blog has been perfect lately and hope you have a very Merry Christmas!!

  24. Tami says:

    This is also a classic dessert in Australia. They refer to it as Sticky Date Pudding. I LOVE this dessert. Thanks for posting it and all the other amazing, life changing recipes.

  25. Beth says:

    Oh Mel, now I’m confused…
    Since my roots are English, I usually serve a traditional English Christmas dinner with Yorkshire pudding, roast beef, mint peas and Sticky Toffee Pudding is one of the couple desserts I usually make. I was going to live reckless and switch it out this year to make your Glazed Cranberry Lemon Cake, but after reading this post I’m second guessing myself. OK, maybe we have 3 desserts this year – not sure if I’m ready to let go of the annual Sticky Toffee pudding, it is SO good. I have been busy baking and our kitchen is busting with the goodies I’ve made from your wonderful site. This past week I’ve made:
    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge
    Puppy Chow
    Killer Crunch Brownies
    Perfect Vanilla Bean Caramels
    Twixster Cookies (used the above caramels to make, and cookies came out perfect)
    S’Mores Hershey Kiss Blossom Cookies
    White Chocolate Gingerbread Truffles (L-O-V-E these)
    7-layer bar cookies
    Triple Chocolate Fudge Peanut Butter Cookies
    Chocolate Crinkle Peppermint Cookies
    English Muffin Bread
    I made your Mom’s chili recipe, my daughter who is not a fan of chili, loved it (so thank you for that recipe!) and the Creamy White Chicken Lasagna soup for meals

    I still have several other of your cookie recipes on the agenda to make this week, oh and Christmas came early for me yesterday as I received a package from Amazon (thanks to your recommendation) – I am now the proud owner of TWO #40 cookie scoops. I’m so excited to try them out!

    Thanks again for sharing your recipes!

  26. Becky says:

    I love toffee anything and I feel very dignified eating British things (I’m looking at you, scones). I think this might be a NYE thing as I just bought everything to make the peppermint bark cheesecake! Can’t wait to try them both (but not at the same time 😉 )!

    • Mel says:

      Haha, that’s so true about feeling so very refined eating things like scones and sticky toffee pudding. Glad I’m not the only one who gets that false sense of pride. 🙂

  27. Liz says:

    I think this might be my Christmas sweet!

    Years ago, a friend and I were having dinner together – we usually split a dessert. She had to twist my arm to order the sticky toffee pudding. I thought of a bread pudding and was not enthusiastic at all. She says – and she still teases me about it – that my facial expression on the first bite was something on the order of “surprise – WOW and OMG!!” We email each other recipes whenever we see one, but the coup de grace was when she sent me a photo of having sticky toffee pudding in London … while travelling with her family.

    Thanks Mel for this recipe – looks perfect! and thanks to my friend Judy for my introduction to sticky toffee pudding!

    • Mel says:

      I totally know what you mean, Liz! I was always a bit put off by the name and sound of Stick Toffee Pudding but once I had it, I was kicking myself for not trying it earlier!

  28. kurtsbestfriend says:

    You’ve won my heart FOREVER!!!
    I first tried Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake at Texas Land and Cattle Co. That dessert changed my reason for eating there. When our waiter informed me that they were discontinuing this dessert, I offered to purchase their remaining inventory – I couldn’t envision life without it! (…they really do freeze well.)
    I’m going to use my mini bundt pans – so excited…!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Mel says:

      I love the idea of making these cakes in mini bundt pans! I love that you offered to buy out all their sticky toffee pudding cakes! That’s awesome.

    • kurtsbestfriend says:

      So, the mini bundt pans and large muffin pans worked beautifully. I couldn’t help myself and stuck the hand-blender into the soaking dates, it pureed very nicely and produces an amazing texture. I think that this will become my favorite recipe EVER. Doubled recipe made 6 mini bundt cakes, 6 large muffin-sized cakes, and one ramekin-sized cake (which I used as a quality-control specimen 🙂

  29. Jocy says:

    No need to apologize for taking it easy! We love and appreciate you. You do what is best for you 😉 Thanks for your love to us! Can’t wait to try this!!!

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