Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is a popular British dessert featuring a date cake smothered in warm sticky toffee sauce. The sponge is studded with chopped dates and upon coming out of the oven a portion of the toffee sauce is spooned over top to soak into the cake. The toffee sauce is made on the stove by combining heavy cream with brown sugar and butter. It’s rich and caramelly. Without the sauce the cake isn’t all that special. But once the sauce hits it a transformation of epic proportions ensues.

The ‘sticky’ is appropriate for describing this cake in two ways. The dates are sticky sweet. Packed with natural sugars they can best be described as nature’s candy. I like to compare them to crystallized maple syrup. They add a rich sweetness to the cake and incredible moistness. The toffee sauce is sticky too – just imagine eating a piece of caramel and how it sticks to your fingers. And teeth. In it’s fluid state, as a sauce, it doesn’t have the strength to do that. But it just might leave an everlasting impression stamped upon your soul. I know it did mine.

I searched recipes from one side of the internet to the other and found all sorts of variations. I wanted to stay as true to the original as possible. But what was that? I may have struck gold with this recipe from the Udny Arms Hotel in Aberdeenshire who claim the recipe originates with them. I even discovered a handwritten recipe that, depending on how true you hold information across the internet to be, was penned by a chef of the hotel for a patron.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

It is not at all difficult to make, like I thought it might be upon first hearing of it. I checked with British Chef Jaime Oliver and he says if fresh dates aren’t available dry ones are fine to use. And they come with the advantage of being already ‘pitted’ or ‘stoned’ as he calls it.

From this classic dessert I made another – the English trifle! I made individual servings by layering cubed cake drizzled in toffee sauce with whip cream. These can be eaten immediately, warm, cold or at room temperature.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is deeply satisfying on so many different levels. With just one bite I was smitten. Greedy gobbling ensued. About half way through I started to slow down. There was benefit to making it last. Gooey, soft and luscious. Intense. Positively sinful. Comforting like your favorite sweater. Dangerously delicious. Sticky toffee pudding is all these things and more. In a restaurant I would not hesitate to lick the plate clean. No matter who was looking. It’s an experience you must have first person to fully understand. So why are you still here? Go forth and bake!
Sticky Toffee Pudding

British Sticky Toffee Pudding

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 1 9x13 cake

British Sticky Toffee Pudding

A popular British dessert featuring a date cake smothered in warm, sticky toffee sauce.


2 cups boiling water
8 ounces (just short of 2 cups after chopping) dates, fresh or dried, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 cups caster sugar*
2 eggs, room temperature
3 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
2 + 3/4 cups brown sugar, light or dark
1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream
Whipped Cream
1 pint cup heavy cream or whipping cream


  1. A 1/2 hour before making cake in a medium sized bowl pour the boiling water over the chopped dates and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Beat in eggs gradually.
  4. Fold in flour and baking powder. Combine dates and all of the liquid stirring until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from center.
  6. About 25 minutes into the baking time make the sauce. Whisk all ingredients together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  7. When cake comes out of oven poke holes over top of cake using a fork. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over top. Allow to cool off a bit. While still warm cut cake into squares and spoon warm sauce over top. Serve with whipped cream if desired. Store unused sauce in refrigerator, heat in a saucepan.
  8. Chill a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer with the beaters for a half an hour ahead of time. Add cold whip cream to bowl and beat just until soft peaks form. (If you keep on beating you will make butter, some of the freshest tasting, most delicious butter!)
  9. To make a Trifle: Cube the cake into 1-inch cubes. Layer in a trifle bowl, a large, deep glass bowl or in individual parfait glasses. Start with cake, drizzle sauce* over top, then layer with whip cream. Repeat until you reach the top to end with whip cream.
    *Do not use boiling hot sauce, allow it to cool to warm as there may be a danger in cracking the glass.
    *Caster sugar is superfine sugar. You can make it by putting your regular granulated sugar into a food processor and pulsing a few times. Always measure afterward.


Adapted from The Udny Arms Hotel

Sticky Toffee Pudding


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  1. NuM NuM says

    Congrats on advancing! That looks insanely delicious. I must give it a try. Thanks for the new recipe

  2. says

    Reeni you are my hero. Seriously. Do you have any idea how much I LOVE sticky toffee pud? There's this one place we used to go to practically every Sunday for Sunday lunch (another British staple) and their sticky toffee pudding is to. Die. For. Seriously. We asked them once what the secret was and they winked and said, 'dates'.Well done on entry #2 and good luck! You know I'm behind you 😀 Here's to the future entry #3!Jax x

  3. Claudia says

    Smile! That's a winning recipe. I want it to stick to my plate so I can have a spoonful (or ten). Scrumptious and the research you did is fascinating.

  4. Brenda says

    Sticky toffee pudding is freaking amazing. I haven't even had an "authentic" version, just a lame Toronto version and it was still amazing! This is a wonderful entry Reeni and I so wish I could have a piece. I'm crazy about dates. Good luck with this entry!!

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