Sticky Toffee Pudding

You probably weren’t expecting me to return with dessert (although, at this point, maybe you were). I know that everyone else is currently writing about salads and whole grains and cleanses. Screw that, I want some sticky toffee pudding.

I have been wanting to write about sticky toffee pudding ever since I returned from our honeymoon. It is one of my favorite sweets and difficult to find in the US. But it seems to be everywhere in the UK. With good reason— it is amazing!

We spent the holidays in Los Angeles with Bryan’s family (they’re my family, too!). It was a whirlwind trip packed with lots of family, food and presents. Bryan and I snuck away for a few days to meet two of our dearest friends in Palm Springs.

Palm Springs, for those of you who don’t know, is really into dates. Not the romantic kind, but the kind that grow on trees. I believe no trip to Palm Springs is complete without a date shake. I like the ones at the fudge shop in town, I do not like the ones at Hadley’s. The shakes got me thinking about dates again.

While in Palm Springs, we ate lunch at the Ace hotel (double date?). When I ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert, our server first looked confused and then corrected me: you mean sticky date pudding? (OMG! She might not even know they are the same thing?!) It was a nice version of the classic British dessert and was the push I needed to make my own.

I used a recipe from the always reliable, Rose Levy Beranbaum. It is the perfect light rendition and one that I will definitely be making again. It is everything I wanted in a STP. She mentions in the notes about the recipe that it is nice served with root beer ice cream, which I hope to try sometime soon. I settled for unsweetened whipped cream, but plain vanilla ice cream would be killer.

Happy new year, everyone! I hope 2012 is off to a good start.

**I believe STP needs to be served warm. If you aren’t eating this all at once, the cake and sauce can be warmed in the microwave pretty easily. We kept eating this for about 3 days and it remained delicious. I stored the cake tightly wrapped at room temperature, and the sauce in the fridge.

Sticky Toffee Pudding (from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum)

  • 1 cup (8 oz) stout beer, preferably Guinness extra stout
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 large dates, pitted (6 oz)
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (8 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter, line bottom with parchment.

In a small saucepan, bring the beer to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the baking soda. It will fizz up a lot. Pour the beer mixture over the pitted dates. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Once cool, remove the dates to a food processor and add a little of the beer mixture. Process until a paste is formed. Gradually add the rest of the liquid through the feed tube. The mixture will be smooth, dark and glossy. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. (she recommends 300 if you are baking in a pyrex)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. With the mixer on medium, gradually add the eggs in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add one third of the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed for 10 to 15 seconds just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add half the date mixture and mix just until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with another third of the flour, then the remaining date mixture, and finally the remaining flour. Mix just until the batter is uniform in color and no streaks remain. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Using a silicon spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. The pan will be about one third full.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. While the cake is baking, make the toffee sauce.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. You can then either unmold the cake, or just cut (into 12 pieces) and serve from the cake pan. Serve each slice warm, topped with about 3 tablespoons of the toffee sauce. Top with vanilla ice cream.

Toffee Sauce

  • 1 cup (8.5 oz) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 16 tablespoons (8 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, place the brown sugar and butter. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the pan and add the pod. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the heavy cream, lemon juice, and salt. Let cool for a couple of minutes before removing the vanilla bean and serving.



57 comments to “Sticky Toffee Pudding”

  1. I love sticky toffee pudding! If you’re looking for it around Chicago, Owen & Engine and Fork both have good (although quite different) renditions.

  2. Eli- Thanks for tip! Hope to try both soon.

  3. Hi there! I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and am completely hooked! I’m also a fellow Chicago resident so that made me that much more interested :). Love the recipes that you post, they all look so delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  4. omg! just bought fresh dates…so excited to try this recipe.

    your photographs are extremely beautiful & the light you captured
    makes me hopeful for a west coast visit soon.

  5. Caitlin- thanks for the nice note! Your site is beautiful, and I love those photos of your apartment. Such nice light! Looking forward to following along.
    Linda- Go west, young woman!

  6. also from chicago area, ever have wilde’s sticky toffee pudding?? never had better!

  7. I did not just come back from England, so I don’t know what my excuse is, but I’ve been craving sticky toffee pudding, too! I used a mini-bundt pan mold and made individual cakes for a New Year’s Eve party. I used a recipe from the current issue of BA, but this one looks much better. Looks like I’m going to have to make some more. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Love love love sticky toffee pudding and it’s so nice to see it getting the recognition it deserves! This looks so delicious.

  9. Woah. Nice. Especially for a Friday. Tim, I have a question. I make ice cream a lot and always struggle with the vanilla bean. What do you use when you scrape the pod? Do you slit with a knife and scrape with a spoon? Or do you scrape with the knife too?

    Happy weekend.

  10. I am so making this!! It was a favorite at our Island’s Dalvay Hotel [where Will & Kate had the helicopter exercise & boat race when here last summer] but new management tossed the baker and alas..gone. THANK – YOU for this recipe!!

  11. OOOOHHH! So glad you have a ‘winning’ recipe for this. I remember a couple years ago, Sticky Toffee Pudding was a winning flavor in a Haagen Dasz contest. It was the most incredible ice cream I’ve ever had (even counting chocolate!). Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you!

  12. Eggton: I slit with a knife and then scrape with the back of the knife (not the blade). Sometimes I’ll just slice the bean in half lengthwise and scrape it that way…it makes it a little easier.
    Carole: Ice Cream! That is a brilliant idea. I am going to have to give it a try.

  13. you’re speaking to a fellow sticky-toffee-pudding-enthusiast!

    if you are ever in toronto do try the sticky toffee pudding at the ceili cottage or starfish (they both have the same owner). d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. they have even been so nice to share their recipe: it is similar minus the stout and has more dates:

  14. I completely love sticky toffee pudding and can’t believe it isn’t more popular in the States considering how amazing it is. Those dates look pretty good from Palm Springs, do you get the Medjool ones where you are?
    Happy New Year! Perfect pudding post x

  15. Hi Laura! Those are Medjool, for some reason they seem lighter in that photograph.
    Glad to see so much STP-love out there!

  16. I just made a sticky toffee pudding recipe for Christmas! My dad has a thing for dates and had been dropping not so subtle hints that he really wanted me to make a date pudding. I’d never had one before, so I gave in on Christmas and made one from Epicurious. OMG was it good! Especially the caramel sauce. But, their version calls for a water bath and it took me much longer to bake than the projected time – yours sounds much simpler!

  17. love that you call it STP. not to be confused with stone temple pilots :).

  18. I love dates, ever since I made Ina Garten’s date nut loaf bread, but I have never attempted making STP-a terrible shame! That will change soon.

    Isn’t nature amazing with all of it’s goodies?

  19. In Australia, this is a very popular winter dessert also and is referred to as sticky date pudding. I guess given our close ties with England it makes sense that this dessert has probably made its way through the generations. I often add pecans to the pudding which are readily available here and the nuttiness makes for a great texture. Your photos of the pudding look droolingly delicious!

  20. Be still my heart! I had sticky toffee pudding for the first time this past winter and loved it! Thank you sooo much for sharing this recipe! :D

  21. I adore sticky toffee pudding–I bet the stout in this recipe really adds some depth. I’ve been thinking about putting together a sticky toffee pudding cookie. Glad to know there are many other STP lovers out there.

  22. Well, you can probably guess my reaction to this…love! I’ve never tried making it myself but as you said it’s an absolute dessert staple in the UK. Any self respecting pub will likely have one on its menu.

    This might not appeal to the American palate but it’s also often served with vanilla custard. I have mixed feelings about this because it reminds me of the congealed version my school canteen served up but when done well it’s a bit of a dream.

    Gorgeous pictures, as always!

  23. I love sticky toffee pudding and it was one of first cakes that I figured out how to make gluten free when I had to change my diet. I always make mine with lyle’s golden syrup, which can be tricky to find in the states. I look forward to trying your sticky toffee sauce next time!

  24. My neighbors own a second resident in Palm Springs and last year they brought us back some fresh dates and lemons. Oh, the dates were soooo good. I made some date granola with them.
    I may need to go over and order some dates. The sticky pudding sounds divine!
    Happy New Year!

  25. Once the holiday excess is off my midriff this is the first thing I am going to make!! Yummmmm!

  26. I love sticky toffee pudding!!! I’ve been wanting to make it for so long and have looked up recipes, but haven’t followed through. I think I’ll be baking soon, it looks delicious! So much for those new years resolutions! :)

  27. This irresistible treat is your first post of the new year, a time when so many are struggling to stick with healthier eating resolutions.

    You are evil incarnate and must be destroyed :)

  28. Oh my god, this looks absolutely divine. Post holiday diets be damned!

  29. Dear Lord! A dream come true. I go to bingo on Monday nights at this lovely place called the Liberty Glass. They have this on the menu and it’s seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Have a bag of dates in the cupboard and I think it’s time to get my sticky toffee pudding on!

  30. Yippee…you are officially my favorite new blog of 2012!! I hail from Chicago (Lincoln Park…Good Counsel High School), and I’ve been longing for a hometown food blog. Thanks for making me find you (via Juniper Moon Farm). And, come visit on your next swing through Park City, Utah…Bon appetit!

  31. my friend becky just emailed me a link to this and said, “i want to make this now” – and now i want to make it too. delicious. your photos and descriptions are always perfect and funny. thank you tim and a very happy new year to you!

  32. Yeah… sorry- had to serve my sticky toffee pudding with a side of amaranth and tofu to avoid the lightening strike. Happy New Year! {JK} you rock!

  33. You have the most fun recipes! I absolutely love them. Please don’t ever stop!

  34. Lauren- That is such a nice comment! Thanks so much. I’ll keep at it. : )

  35. this looks awesome! root beer ice cream–must find recipe! that being said, don’t dates remind you just the tiniest bit of cockroaches? Maybe that’s why I haven’t made a date shake yet even though they sound like my cup of tea.

  36. OMG! Thankyou so much, sticky date pudding is officially my new favourite dessert! A friend made it at a Christmas party and I fell in love! ;) I love your website thankyou so much for all these beautiful recipes!

  37. Love your site!!

    Love sticky toffee pudding… Yum

    Happy Friday
    : ))

  38. Thanks, Jen!

  39. ex-Montrealer says:

    January 14th, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Tim, Happy New Year to you and Bryan!

    I was at a job interview, here in Toronto, a few years ago, and one of the two interviewers–the more senior one!–started talking about this pub not too far from where I live, called “The Abbott.” (They serve much better-than-average food; not “pub food” at all!) Anyway, she asked me if I’d ever had their sticky toffee pudding. I could honestly say yes, and unfortunately for my waistline, I’ve had it more than once there! They serve it in individual ramekins with little puffs of sweetened whipped cream and a small orange slice on top.

    I’ve wanted to ask for their recipe a thousand times over; now I can make yours and be happy! So if you ever come to Toronto, you have to go to the Abbott just for their STP: it’s divine!!

    Thanks for all of the beautiful photos too, Tim. We just had “white-out conditions” here, yesterday, so your photo of California (? or is that Palm Springs?) made me envious.

  40. Love sticky toffee pudding. I like to have it with vanilla ice cream- it’s so good when the warm cake and toffee sauce melts it so that there’s a nice puddle of ice cream for spooning up with every bite. Schiller’s Liquor Bar in NYC has a great one!

  41. Your posts are as addictive as pinterest! Im so glad for this recipe, my dad dropped off a box filled dates and I didn’t know what to make of it yet. This looks like a good start :)

  42. Stunning! I stumbled across your blog about 2 weeks ago. Now it’s my drug.

  43. Hi Tim,
    You have an awesome blog, and I love your writing style, picture-taking, and recipes. I came across your gooey butter cookies on Pinterest, and rooted around to find this sticky toffee pudding recipe perfect for my book club tonight (we read a novel based in England). Plus I own Rose’s book, so I don’t even need to waste paper to print this out. Anyway, keep up the good work. I am a Chicago-area chef and can only hope that my blog grows into something as great as yours!

  44. I too am a recently-converted lover of STP, and this looks like a fabulous recipe – stout, vanilla bean, heavy cream – what could go wrong? I made a version last year from Deborah Madison’s desserts book, which included coffee (which kinda tastes like stout, hey!). I love the opening photo in this post, and am inspired by your tasteful use of text in photos. Thanks for another beautiful post.

  45. I would like to make this cake but do you think I can substitute the butter with oil? for allergies reasons…

  46. Hi Shelly, I don’t know. I would think you can try, but it will definitely make it into a different cake. And you definitely couldn’t do the toffee sauce without the butter. The orange-walnut cake might be a better thing to try?

  47. Tim – My daughter Molly, who is working on her own food blog, sent me the link to yours! We are currently expats in London for two years with my husbands job. We moved to London from Oak Park last March. Imagine how much fun it was to read your blog and your love of New Rebozo, Marion Street Cheese Market, Smoque & Hot Chocolate. Our lists of favorites are quite similar! Caused a bit of a pang of homesickness!

    Having moved to London I have acquired quite a love of STP as well as Pimms! So again I was happy to see your recipe. I’ll continue to follow your blog, it’s a nice little connection to home!

    Molly’d blog is if you’d care to take a look.

    Thanks for providing “brilliant bits from home” for a expat in London! CHEERS!

  48. YUM!!! i love sticky toffee pudding – that haagen dazs flavor was my absolute favorite but unfortunately it’s no longer produced.

  49. Hi! LOVE this recipe and want to try it out! Is there anything I can substitute the beer for? For those who don’t drink.. :)

  50. Ellen Powers says:

    December 16th, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I am a southern girl born and raised in GA. I ordered Sticky Toffee Puddings for 2 Christmas dinners a d this will be the first time anyone in my family has even heard of it, much less tasted it. I know I should serve it warm but should I include chilled vanilla bean custard, unsweetened whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream?

  51. Hi Ellen- Any of those would be great, it is totally a matter of preference. I’m a fan of unsweetened (or lightly sweetened) softly whipped cream.

  52. I’ve had this one in my file for a while but have been working through some other desserts I wanted to try. I am planning to use this for my New Year’s dinner and am wondering if this can be made ahead and gently heated in the oven the next day, since I am planning a fairly complicated menu. Thanks for a great blog – I love your recipes and your commentary!

  53. Hi Barbara- I would guess that would be fine, though I haven’t tried. I would reheat it covered with foil so it doesn’t dry out.

  54. Thanks! I will let you know how it turns out.

  55. This reheated nicely in the oven, covered with foil, at 300 , while I made the sauce. Honestly, though, for the amount of work involved I was not thrilled. Maybe it’s a Midwest thing (although you did mention Palm springs in conjunction with this)? I remain an avid follower and am looking forward to trying some of the other faves from 2012.

  56. I just wanted you to know this is one of my favorite desserts of all time (I like the concord grape tart too). I love to bake and own quite a few baking books (probably not as many as you). My husband loves it too…and we are chocolate people, so that’s saying something.

  57. Have got my own recipe for this,but will give your one a try.Looks Good..

What do you think?