Sticky Toffee Pudding is a rich and comforting dessert you will love! These soft and sweet brown sugar sponge cakes are soaked in a warm toffee sauce and served with whipped cream or ice cream. The perfect dessert for holidays or celebrations.
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?
What is sticky toffee pudding?
This is a classic British dessert made of soft and sweet date cakes soaked in a warm toffee sauce. The cakes are served with whipped cream, ice cream, heavy cream, or custard. This is a rich and comforting dessert that is perfect for fall, winter, and the holidays.
If you aren’t a fan of dates (like me!) I still encourage you to try this. This cake doesn’t have a strong date flavor, the dates primarily add moisture and sweetness. After one bite of this dessert it easily became one of my favorite desserts of all-time. It is incredible.
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 (more on this below).
- 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.
This recipe is typically made as individual servings in ramekins or a muffin tin. If you’d prefer to make it as one whole cake (to cut and serve) you can do that instead.
Ramekins: You can use 4-oz ramekins or 7-oz ramekins. I typically get 9-10 servings from the 4-oz ramekins, and 8 servings from the 7-oz ramekins.
Muffin pan: The cake batter can be baked in a standard muffin pan. Fill cups about two-thirds full. You should have between 10 and 12 cakes.
8×8 pan: Spread batter into a greased 8×8 square pan. Bake time will be a few minutes longer than the ramekins and muffin pan.
- 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 warm 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.
Ingredient spotlight: medjool dates
Medjool dates are the best dates to use for this recipe. They are soft and sweet with a caramel-like flavor. You will need 7 ounces of medjool dates for this recipe, that is somewhere between 7 and 10 dates. Look for dates in the produce section of your grocery store. Occasionally you might also find them on the dried fruit aisle.
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 (preferred)** or see notes for other pan sizes. 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.
Nutritional Information is an estimate based on third-party calculations and may vary based on products used and serving sizes.