Fluffy treacle and date sponge topped with a lusciously rich toffee sauce. One of my absolute favourite desserts of all time.
There’s no way you’re leaving the table without having two servings of this ultimate British dessert.
If you go to any English restaurant, you're more than likely to see at least one of the following traditional puds on the menu:
- Apple pie and custard/cream
- Chocolate fudge cake and ice cream
- Sticky toffee pudding and custard
- Eton Mess
It probably sounds like I'm complaining at the lack of variety or imagination, but I'm not!
I'd gladly eat any one of those gorgeous desserts, and I'm pretty sure I'd still choose one of them even if there was a huge dessert menu with lots of choice.
Sticky toffee pudding is definitely the one I go for most often. Sometimes it arrives looking all posh - sliced into a thin sliver, topped with a little wedge of some kind of brittle, and served with a perfect quenelle of ice cream.
That's all very nice, but I much prefer it when it's clearly been baked in a big batch, scooped up with a serving spoon, plonked in a bowl and almost drowned in custard. You know, the old-fashioned way, like our grandparents served it.
It's actually really easy to make at home, and making it at home, means you can make enough to serve everybody seconds. Of course everybody has seconds when it comes to sticky toffee pud!
It's a lovely, light sponge, with loads of flavour, and that sticky toffee sauce is so moreish!!
📋 What do we need?
For the 'cake part':
For the sticky toffee sauce:
How to make it
Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Soak the dates in water for 10 minutes.
- Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and treacle, then stir in flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and milk.
- Mush up the dates that are soaking in the water, then add to the cake mixture (including any liquid in the bowl). Stir together.
- Spoon the mixture into a buttered baking dish and place in the oven for 25-35. minutes, until the sponge is cooked through.
- Make the toffee sauce by heating sugar, butter and cream in a pan, until combined. Then bring to the boil, turn off the heat, and stir in treacle and more cream.
- Remove the cake from the oven and pour over half of the toffee sauce. Serve with the remaining sauce.
👩🍳PRO TIP Tastes just as good warmed up in the microwave (in portions) – so it’s a great make-ahead dessert.
👩🍳PRO TIP 2 Add ½ tsp salt to the toffee sauce for a Sticky Salted Toffee Pudding 😋
I love mine with custard, Chris loves his with ice cream, and the kids will have both if I let them!!
What would you serve yours with?
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Sticky Toffee Pudding
Sticky Toffee Pudding:
- 150 g (approx ⅔ cup) Medjool dates - , pitted and finely chopped
- 150 ml (½ cup + 2 tbsp) boiling water
- 90 g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter - softened
- 120 g (⅔ cup) soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp black treacle
- 190 g (1.5 cups + 1 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 pinch salt
- 120 ml (½ cup) full fat milk
- 175 g (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) light muscovado sugar
- 60 g (½ cup) unsalted butter - cut into pieces
- 240 ml (1 cup) double (heavy) cream
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- Prepare your baking dish by lightly buttering it. I use a 12inch x 7 inch dish (2.5 inch deep), but a 9inch square dish will also work.
- Add the dates and water to a bowl. Leave to soak for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, use a fork to squish the dates (don’t drain).
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F
- Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then mix in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla extract and treacle.
- Add the half the flour, the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and half the milk. Stir gently to combine, then add in the remaining flour and milk. Stir again until just combined.
- Add the mushed up date mixture (including the liquid). Stir, then spoon into the prepared baking dish.
- Cook in the oven for 25-35 minutes until firm on top.
- About 10 minutes before the cake is ready, make the toffee sauce. Place the sugar and butter in a medium saucepan with half the cream.
- Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring all the time, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Stir in the black treacle, turn up the heat slightly and let the mixture bubble for 2-3 mins until it turns to a light-brown toffee colour. Stir it occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the rest of the cream. Put to one side.
- Take the sponge out of the oven and pour half of the toffee sauce over the sponge.
- Serve with the remaining toffee sauce.
You can store the remaining sauce, covered, in the fridge too. Reheat in portions, uncovered, in the microwave, until piping hot. It should take about 30-45 seconds per piece. Reheat the remaining sauce in a pan, until piping hot. Can I freeze it? Yes, this dessert freezes well. Freeze, covered, in individual portions, Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as per the instructions above. The sauce can also be covered and frozen, then defrosted and reheated in a pan until piping hot. Ingredient swaps
- Swap the dates for raisins
- Add a splash of rum to the water when soaking the dates (or raisins) for a boozy addition.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of chopped roasted hazelnuts to the cake mixture for a nutty flavour.
This post was first published in August 2017. Updated September 2021 with new photos, a couple of tweaks to the recipes and a bit of housekeeping.
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