Soft and sweet brown sugar sponge cakes soaked in a warm toffee sauce. Sticky Toffee Pudding is a rich and comforting dessert you will love!
These delicious little cakes are our consolation prize. We were supposed to be spending this week in London, eating our way through our favorite city. We are counting the days until we can safely reschedule our trip, but in the meantime I’ll be making (and eating) my favorite English dessert – Sticky Toffee Pudding! Because what better way to cheer yourself up than with copious amounts of butter, cream, and sugar?
This is a classic British dessert made of soft and sweet date cakes soaked, and I mean truly soaked, in a warm toffee sauce. This is a rich and comforting dessert that is perfect for fall, winter, and the holidays.
If the idea of a “date” cake doesn’t excite you, you are not alone. Date cake would have never been my dessert of choice, BUT, after one bite of this sweet, sticky dessert it easily became one of my favorite desserts of all-time. It is incredible.
Sticky toffee pudding recipe overview
This recipe is two parts: cake and toffee sauce. It is best served warm when the cake is extra soft and the warm toffee sauce soaks into the cake.
- Beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses.
- Add eggs and vanilla.
- Add flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Soak dates in boiling water and baking soda. Mash or puree the dates.
- Add the date mixture to the cake batter, beat until combined.
- Scoop the batter into ramekins, muffin tin, or an 8×8 pan.
- Melt butter in a saucepan.
- Add cream, brown sugar, molasses, and a pinch of salt.
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes, whisking frequently.
- Brush some of the toffee sauce onto the cake (allowing it to be absorbed into the cake itself).
- Serve each portion with additional toffee sauce, pouring it generously over each serving.
- Finish with a drizzle of heavy cream, a dollop of whipped cream, or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. A sprinkle of flaky sea salt also creates a nice salty-sweet balance.
- Use medjool dates, as they have a deep, caramel-like flavor.
- Adjust the bake time based on the size of your baking dish. Be careful not to overbake.
- Take the extra step of brushing the cake with a bit of toffee sauce to allow the cakes to really soak up the sauce.
- The toffee sauce will firm up as it cools. Immediately after preparing the sauce, allow it to cool slightly (to thicken), but serve it while it is still warm. If it cools completely or firms up too much, simply reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave to thin it out again.
Storage: You can store leftover cake and sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, warming both before serving.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
- 7 oz medjool dates (approximately 7-10 dates)
- ¾ cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs*, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons unsulphured molasses (teaspoons, not tablespoons)
- pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- heavy cream, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and/or flaky sea salt, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Finely chop the dates. You should have about 1 cup loosely packed. Place the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water and sprinkle with baking soda. Stir, then allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses until creamy and combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.
- In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and beat until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- After the dates have soaked for 20 minutes, mash or puree the dates along with the liquid. If the dates you used were moist you should be able to mash them easily with a fork. If the dates were really dry it will likely be easier to use an immersion blender or small food processor to puree (they don't have to be completely smooth). Transfer all of the date mixture into the cake batter and beat until combined.
- Grease ramekins** or a 12-count muffin tin (see note for an 8x8 pan). Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Depending on the size of your ramekins this can be anywhere from 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to overbake. Place on a wire rack to cool.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cream, brown sugar, molasses, and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking occasionally, and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and set aside to cool slightly; it will thicken as it cools.
Assembly and serving:
- While the cakes are still a little bit warm, remove them from the ramekins/muffin tin and place them on a baking sheet or a piece of foil or parchment paper. Note: the cakes will likely have a dome on top. If desired, you can use a serrated knife to level off the top. I prefer to level it off and serve the cakes upside down.
- Brush all sides of the cakes with the toffee sauce, reserving the rest of the sauce for serving.
- Serve the cake warm, drizzled with extra toffee sauce. Garnish with heavy cream, whipped cream, ice cream, and/or a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.