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.

INGREDIENTS:

Pudding
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
Sauce
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

INSTRUCTIONS:

  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.

Notes:

Adapted from The Udny Arms Hotel

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/british-sticky-toffee-pudding-challenge/

Sticky Toffee Pudding

 

Comments

  1. Melissa says

    This dessert looked and sounded like what I had in NYC a couple of times in one visit. It was the "IT" dessert, so your recipe was quite a find. Overall I really liked it – especially the toffe sauce (I saved some for ice cream). But I think I should have poked more holes into the cake itself. The cake rose higher than it looks in your picture and although moist, not soaking with sauce like I desired. I will make this again with some adjustments. I will probably use dark brown sugar next time, too. Thanks!

  2. Penny says

    I see the dates, baking soda and water listed twice in the ingredients. I’m assuming this is an error and they are only used once? I cannot wait to try. Looks very similar to an apple cake I’ve had before but could never find the recipe. Thank you.

  3. suesue says

    Hi my previous had the sticky toffee on the dessert menu
    And that was the best ever,I am very pleased to see the recipe
    So I can make that for my family.

    • Reeni says

      Hi Galen! It’s superfine sugar. You can make it by putting regular granulated sugar in a food processor and pulsing a few times. Measure afterward.

      • Karen Howard says

        Hi Reeni. Thanks for answering Galen’s Question. I had asked another website that question & they never answered me.And thanks for the info. Looks like I’ll be using my processor a lot this holiday. Can’t wait to try the Sticky Toffee Pudding! : )

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