Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Rich and gooey sticky toffee pudding is the perfect dessert for any holiday or celebration! This moist brown sugar and date sponge cake is topped with a luxurious frosting and warm toffee sauce for a delicious version of the classic British dessert. 

Cake on a white cake stand with a slice on a white plate.

Other classic English desserts we love include these classic scones, lemon curd and clotted cream

Whether you are familiar with traditional British desserts or not, you will love this decadent sticky toffee pudding recipe that is well known in Great Britain! Warm date sponge cake is drizzled with toffee sauce and the light texture melts into your mouth with sweet oblivion. 

It’s sweet and sticky, dense yet soft and after one bite, will be your new favorite dessert. 

It’s rich, sinfully tempting, and the perfect comfort food for fall, winter or any holiday. Other luxurious desserts we love include simple croissant bread pudding and butter cookies.  

What is English Sticky Toffee Pudding? 

Although most timelines attribute this dessert’s creation to Francis Coulson of the Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel in England’s Lake District in 1960, some say it was in the 1940’s when two Canadian air force officers lodged at a hotel in Lancashire and shared the recipe with the British hotel manager, Patricia Martin. 

Martin is said to have given the recipe to her employees Francis Coulson and Robert Lee, who then began to sell the sticky pudding. Regardless of its origin, it became a delicious international success and beloved dessert.

Made with a sponge cake consisting of chopped dates then topped with a luscious toffee sauce, it’s often served with cream or ice cream and is delectably delicious. It’s also very similar to the Australian dish, sticky date pudding! 

Ingredients Needed

This sticky date pudding has three parts, the cake, toffee sauce and frosting. Each compliments the other and is not to be missed!

Cake: 

  • Dates: You will need approximately 7 pitted dates. Medjool dates are best if you can find them. 
  • All purpose flour: Baking is science and this recipe has not been tested with other flours.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: Leavening agents that help give the cake a slight rise.
  • Salt: For taste. 
  • Butter: Your butter will need to be softened. The best method is to leave your butter at room temperature until you can make an indent in the butter with your finger. 
  • Brown sugar: Lightly packed brown sugar adds moisture and the best crumb.
  • Egg: Room temperature, helps bind cake ingredients together. 
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract for best taste. 
Recipe ingredients for the cake.

Sauce

  • Butter: Unsalted butter is best. If you use salted butter just omit the added pinch of salt.
  • Cream: Whole, heavy cream, or whipping cream, at least 30% fat.
  • Brown sugar: Packed brown sugar.
  • Salt: Just a pinch.

Frosting

  • Cream: Whole, heavy or whipping cream at least 30% fat.
The ingredients for the sauce.

How to Make Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

This pudding is best served warm, when the toffee sauce melts into the cake and creates the most perfect rich tasting dessert. Start by preheating your oven and greasing and flouring an 8 inch round cake pan.

Add dates and water to a medium sized pot and simmer on medium heat until water has completely dissolved and dates are soft. Blend dates and any remaining water with an immersion blender, mixer or if your dates are soft enough, you may be able to just mash them into a puree.

Making the date paste.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, soda and salt until no lumps remain.

The whisked dry ingredient in the bowl.

In an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in your egg and vanilla and then date puree. Last, add your flour mixture on low speed and combine.

Making the batter in the mixing bowl.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean or with 2-3 crumbs attached. 

The cake batter in the round pan before and after baking.

In a small to medium sized pot add the butter, then slowly add 1 cup cream, the brown sugar and salt , whisking continuously until the mixture bubbles gently and comes together to form a smooth mixture. Let cool.

Making the sauce.

In a medium bowl make your whipped cream by using your electric mixer. Gently fold in half the cooled sauce.

Making the whipped cream sauce.

Make holes in the warmish cake with the tongs of a fork or skewer stick and drizzle some of the remaining sauce over the cake. Cut into servings, top each serving with a large dollop of whipped cream mixture and drizzle with sauce.

Pouring the sauce on the baked cake.

Best Pan Sizes to Use

For my version of sticky pudding, I prefer to bake it in an 8 inch square pan for cake sized squares. Here are some other popular versions.

  • Ramekins: You can use 4 oz or 7 oz sized ramekins. Recipe should yield about 9-10 servings in the 4 oz ramekin or 8 servings when using the 7 oz size. 
  • Muffin pan: Using a standard muffin pan, you should get around 10-12 servings.
  • 8 inch square pan: This is the size pan I prefer for this recipe. 
  • Bundt pan: If you are serving a larger crowd, a bundt pan will make a great presentation, but you may need to double the recipe and grease your pan very well.

Expert Tips for making Sticky Toffee Pudding

  • Drizzle with some toffee sauce when your cake is fresh out of the oven, to allow it to soak into the cake. This makes your toffee pudding sticky! 
  • Toffee sauce will firm as it cools. Warm on low heat until desired consistency is reached. 
  • Medjool dates are best to use as they are soft and sweet and will provide the best texture.
  • Adjust baking time based on the size of your pan, the cake is done when the center is firm.
  • Don’t over bake your cake. It’s better to err on the side of caution and underbake it than overbake it. 
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream instead of making the frosting, it’s still delicious!

How to Store Sticky Toffee Pudding

This sticky toffee cake is best served fresh, but leftover cake, whipped cream mixture and sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. You can warm up the cake before serving or serve room temperature.

Cake on a white cake stand with a slice on a white plate.

Recipe FAQs

What dates are best to use?

Medjool dates are the best because they are soft and sweet with the best caramel-like flavor. Look for these dates in the produce section of your grocery store or sometimes the dried fruit aisle. 

Is this the same as figgy pudding?

No. Figgy pudding is quite different. It is steamed and includes raw beef in its ingredients. Quite different from this baked sponge cake covered in toffee sauce! 

Can I add rum to the pudding sauce? 

If you would like to make this more of an adult dessert, you could add up to ⅓ cup dark rum to the sauce, although you may need to reduce the cream content or risk the sauce being too thin. You may also love these Baileys chocolates

Can I make this dessert in advance?

While this pudding cake is best served fresh out of the oven warm and covered with the cream and toffee sauce, you could possibly bake the cake in advance and then warm individual servings before serving. The toffee sauce and frosting are best served fresh, although the sauce could be warmed as needed. 

A slice of cake on a white plate with a silver fork.

More Desserts To Try

A slice of cake on a white plate with a silver fork.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Erika Marucci
Rich and gooey sticky toffee pudding is the perfect dessert for any holiday or celebration!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 8 servings
Calories 424 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • 6 ounces dates (about 7) (medjool dates if possible)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ cup butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE SAUCE

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup cream whole, heavy or whipping cream (at least 30% fat) divided
  • cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 pinch salt

FOR THE FROSTING

  • 1 cup cream whole, heavy or whipping cream (at least 30% fat) divided

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C). Grease and flour an 8 inch round cake pan.
  • In a medium pot add the dates and water, simmer on medium heat until almost all the water has almost completely dissolved and the dates are soft. Blend the dates and remaining bit of water until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In the mixing bowl beat on medium speed the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy approximately 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla then add the date puree, beat to combine. On low speed add the flour mixture and combine.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with 2-3 crumbs attached. Let cool to warm or room temperature.

FOR THE SAUCE

  • While the cake is baking make the sauce, in a small/medium pot over medium heat, add the butter, then slowly add the cream, the brown sugar and salt , whisking continuously until the mixture bubbles gently and comes together to form a smooth mixture, remove from heat, let cool.

FOR THE FROSTING

  • In a medium bowl whip until stiff the cream. Gently fold in half the cooled sauce.

PUTTING IT TOGETHER

  • Make holes in the warmish cake with the tongs of a fork or skewer stick and drizzle some (2-4 tablespoons) of the remaining sauce over the cake. Cut into servings, top each serving with a large dollop of whipped cream mixture and drizzle with a little sauce. Enjoy!

Notes

This sticky toffee cake is best served fresh, but leftover cake, whipped cream mixture and sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. You can warm it up before serving or serve room temperature.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding cake can be  baked in advance and then sliced afterwards to serve individual pieces. The toffee sauce and frosting are best served fresh, although the sauce could be warmed as needed. 

Nutrition

Calories: 424kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 3gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 179mgPotassium: 209mgFiber: 2gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 1012IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 89mgIron: 1mg
Keyword homemade sticky toffee pudding, pudding cake, sticky toffee pudding, sticky toffee pudding cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Updated from January 6, 2023

2 Comments

  1. What size cake pan do we use for 2X and 3X recipe?

    Also, the web site is so terribly clutered with ads that it is beyond irritating. Although you are one of my favorite blogs, if this truly irritating advertising clutter continues, I will bid you good-bye.

    1. Hi Bette, The ads cover the costs to run my blog including domain, hosting, newsletter services, image editing software, video software and also the daily time spent to keep the site maintained and to provide content at no cost to my readers. And to double the recipe use a 9×13 pan. I wouldn’t triple the recipe. Hope that helps! 🙂

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