Have you ever heard of Sticky Toffee Pudding? It's a super yummy dessert that comes from the UK. Imagine a soft cake filled with sweet dates and covered in a warm toffee sauce. Sounds amazing, right?
This dessert has been a favourite in Scotland for a long time. People there love to enjoy it, especially during cold days. It's like a warm hug in the form of food! Whether you're a dessert aficionado or someone looking for a sweet escape, the Sticky Toffee Pudding promises a delightful experience that lingers long after the last bite.
What is Sticky Toffee Pudding?
Sticky Toffee Pudding is sometimes known as Sticky Date Pudding or Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake.
At the heart of this dessert is its sponge-like texture, reminiscent of a gooey brownie. The dates mainly lend moisture and a subtle sweetness without overpowering the dish, so if you aren't a date fan you still need to give it a go! Once you take a bite, you'll understand why it's often hailed as the perfect dessert by many.
But what truly sets the Sticky Toffee Pudding apart is its signature sticky toffee sauce. This caramel drizzle, poured generously over the cake, is nothing short of a holiday gift.
While its exact origins remain a bit of a mystery, there's no disputing the iconic status sticky toffee pudding holds in British cuisine. It's a decadent treat, providing warmth and comfort, especially cherished on chilly days.
Where Did Sticky Toffee Pudding Originate?
Sticky toffee pudding is a beloved British dessert. While its exact origins are somewhat debated, its popularity in Britain is not in question.
There are some claims that it was developed in the 1960s or 70s by a hotelier in the Lake District of England. Others believe that it was brought over by Canadian Air Force personnel stationed in the UK during World War II. Regardless of its precise origin story, sticky toffee pudding has become an iconic British dessert and has found its way to menus around the world.
Now, here's something that might surprise a lot of Americans: the word “pudding” doesn't mean the same thing in England as it does here. In the States, we usually think of pudding as a kind of custard dessert, but in the UK, “pudding” is a word they use for dessert in general. It's just their way of saying something sweet at the end of a meal!
This is one of those things that are easy to get mixed up on…just like fries/chips/crisps! In our house, we often say things like British chips or American pudding to keep things straight! If you are craving some British chips, you should check out this Fries with Curry Sauce recipe – it's like a British chips & curry from the chippy!
How to Make Sticky Toffee Pudding
- pitted dates
- baking soda
- unsalted butter
- brown sugar
- baking powder
- heavy cream
- brown sugar
- unsalted butter
- vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Add dates, water, and baking soda to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree or transfer to a food processor or blender & blend until smooth.
Add butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Blend again until smooth.
Crack eggs into a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
Add eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt to date mixture. Blend until just combined.
Pour batter into a greased pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. If you choose to use a different pan to create a certain shape for serving, you can use parchment paper to line it. We generally just make it in a 9×13 for ease.
Add heavy cream, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt to a medium saucepan to prepare your toffee sauce.
Bring sauce to a boil over high heat. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
Poke holes in the cake with a toothpick. Pour half of the toffee sauce on top.
Serve the cake warm with extra toffee sauce and/or custard.
Note: I need to update the pictures for this to show the method we use now accurately. We used to combine things in a different order and added the date mixture to a flour mixture, but found this method is a lot easier for cleanup and provides a more moist sticky toffee pudding consistently. Until then, I've removed a few of the step-by-step photos that may have been confusing.
This pudding includes the warm toffee sauce as part of the recipe. You can sprinkle chopped nuts on top if desired. I prefer it without so I can enjoy the decadent cake and creamy toppings. Vanilla ice cream is one popular option. Whipped cream is another, but warm custard is my personal favourite.
When I tried this dessert in Scotland, it was hit and miss on whether it would be dry depending on what restaurant we were at. I'm stubborn, mostly because this is one of my favorite desserts, so this last trip over, I tried it with custard and fell in love with doing that, so now I have to whip up a batch of homemade custard for most of our puddings. This recipe isn't at all dry or crumbly, but the custard takes it to a whole new level of amazing.
I did try using custard powder for ease, but found its a little less sweet than I'm used to and a bit bland. It is a HUGE time saver though and costs about the same as buying instant pudding mix, so if you want a quick but delicious custard, use custard powder but increase the amount of sugar and then add a dash of vanilla when you remove it from the heat.
This sticky toffee pudding recipe is actually based on the Raddish cooking club my older two boys used to get and do as part of their homeschool food & cultural studies. If you have kids who want to cook and learn about the world around them, I HIGHLY recommend Raddish.
More Scottish Recipes:
Another popular Scottish dessert/treat is shortbread. This Walkers Shortbread recipe is the perfect way to experience this easy treat at home, paired with a nice cuppa.
Sticky Date Pudding Recipe
- 8 ounces pitted dates 1 1/4 cups
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cups butter 1 stick
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
- Add dates, water, and baking soda to saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cook 3 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree or transfer to food processer or blend & blend until smooth.8 ounces pitted dates, 1 1/4 cups water, 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Add butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Blend again until smooth.1/2 cups butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Crack eggs into small bowl and whisk until smooth.2 eggs
- Add eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt to date mixture. Blend until just combined.1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Pour batter into greased pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Prepare your toffee sauce by adding cream, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt to medium pot.1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, 6 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Bring sauce to boil over high heat. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Poke holes in cake with a toothpick. Pour half of the toffee sauce on top.
- Serve cake warm with extra sauce and/or custard.