Sticky Toffee Pudding
Sticky Toffee Pudding
5 from 9 votes
Experience the sweet, sumptuous delight of making a classic sticky toffee pudding at home. This time-honoured British dessert, although easy to prepare, promises to amaze with its mouth-watering toffee flavour and irresistible texture.
Sticky Toffee Pudding

As I stand here in my cosy kitchen, surrounded by the delectable aroma wafting from the oven, I can’t help but marvel at the masterpiece I’m about to introduce: The Sticky Toffee Pudding. 

The magic of Sticky Toffee Pudding lies not just in its indulgent flavour, but also in its roots steeped in British history. This dessert, whose origins date back to the mid-20th century, has been warming the hearts and hearths of British families for generations.  

The pudding is rumoured to have been concocted by a hotelier in the Lake District, a picturesque region in northwest England that prides itself on its sumptuous local fare.  

An instant success, the Sticky Toffee Pudding quickly spread across the country, becoming a staple on Christmas tables and a favourite treat at local pubs. Today, it has fans worldwide, and who can blame them? 

Now, if you’re one to shy away from challenging recipes, let me reassure you: making a Sticky Toffee Pudding isn’t as formidable as you might think. In fact, it’s quite manageable.  

Rated a moderate on the difficulty scale, the recipe is beginner-friendly, but it also gives more experienced home cooks a chance to perfect their baking skills. 

The process begins with the creation of the core ingredient, the sticky date mixture. This is where the boiling water, dates, and baking soda meld together into a harmonious concoction, infusing the pudding with a distinct, unmissable flavour.  

The second component of the recipe is the batter, a velvety blend of butter, sugar, and eggs that is carefully folded into the flour and vanilla extract. But, the showstopper is undeniably the rich, decadent toffee sauce. 

Speaking of the toffee sauce, it’s another testament to the simplicity yet genius behind this recipe. Made from brown sugar, unsalted butter, and double cream, the toffee sauce takes the pudding from delightful to divine, engulfing it in a layer of sweet, buttery goodness.  

It’s the kind of dessert that makes you pause at the first bite, close your eyes, and lose yourself in its scrumptiousness. 

Baking the Sticky Toffee Pudding is a journey, one that takes you through different stages of anticipation. First, there’s the joyous moment when the batter-filled dish is finally ready to be popped into the oven, followed by the enticing aroma that fills your kitchen as it bakes.  

Then, there’s the blissful satisfaction of pulling the perfectly-baked pudding out of the oven, and the excitement of pouring the hot toffee sauce over it, watching as it soaks in and transforms the pudding into a sticky, sweet delight. 

The Sticky Toffee Pudding is more than just a dessert; it’s a delicious bite of history, a testament to the beauty of baking, and a wonderful adventure for anyone brave enough to don their apron and give it a try.  

Whether you’re a novice baker looking to dip your toes into the world of desserts or a seasoned chef eager to try a classic, the Sticky Toffee Pudding promises a rich, rewarding experience. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

Sticky Toffee Pudding is a timeless dessert that’s known for its moist sponge cake and a gooey caramel sauce that seeps into every crevice. There is something about this dish that takes me back to a feeling of warmth and cosiness.  

Every ingredient that goes into the making of this dessert adds a special touch that gives the Sticky Toffee Pudding its distinct character. 

Dates: Dates form the backbone of the Sticky Toffee Pudding. They not only lend the cake its rich, deep sweetness but also play a crucial role in making it moist. Dates are a natural sweetener and can replace refined sugar in a number of recipes.  

The finely chopped dates are soaked in boiling water to soften them, making them easier to incorporate into the batter. An alternative to dates could be prunes or dried figs, which also have a similar rich sweetness and moist texture. 

Self-Raising Flour: Self-raising flour is used in this recipe to give the pudding its tender, light texture. It contains a raising agent (baking powder), which helps to lift the batter as it bakes, creating a soft, fluffy pudding.  

If self-raising flour isn’t available, you can make your own by combining plain flour with a leavening agent like baking powder. 

Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar is used in both the pudding and the toffee sauce. It lends a rich, caramel-like sweetness and a moist texture to the dessert. Its molasses content adds depth to the flavour, enhancing the overall taste of the Sticky Toffee Pudding.  

An alternative to brown sugar could be coconut sugar or raw cane sugar, although they may alter the flavour slightly. 

Eggs: Eggs are the binding agents in this recipe. They provide structure and stability to the pudding, and their proteins are set during baking to give the cake its form. They also enrich the flavour and colour of the cake.  

If you are looking for an egg substitute, flax seeds or chia seeds can be used. They can be mixed with water to form a gel-like consistency which can mimic the binding properties of eggs. 

Butter: Unsalted butter is used in both the pudding and the toffee sauce. In the pudding, it contributes to the rich, creamy taste and tender crumb. In the toffee sauce, it adds richness and creaminess.  

If you are looking for a healthier alternative, you can use avocado oil or coconut oil, but bear in mind it may alter the taste slightly. 

Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract enhances the flavours of the other ingredients in the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Its subtle, sweet, and floral notes add a layer of complexity to the dessert. If vanilla extract is not available, you can use vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence as a replacement. 

Baking Soda: Baking soda is used in this recipe to react with the acidic components (brown sugar and dates), which helps to lift the batter and make the pudding light and fluffy. If you don’t have baking soda, you can substitute it with baking powder, although you might need to use more of it. 

Double Cream: Double cream is used in the toffee sauce to make it thick, rich, and creamy. It gives the sauce a velvety texture that coats the pudding beautifully. If you don’t have double cream, you can substitute it with a combination of milk and butter. 

Each ingredient in the Sticky Toffee Pudding plays its unique role, contributing to the texture, flavour, and appearance of the dessert. By understanding these roles, you can confidently make substitutions if necessary, and perhaps even create your own variations of this classic British dessert. 

The Origin of Sticky Toffee Pudding  

I have always been intrigued by the deliciously sweet dessert known as sticky toffee pudding. It’s such a treat, with its moist sponge cake filled with dates, and topped with a decadent toffee sauce.  

But have you ever wondered where it came from? The history of sticky toffee pudding is as rich and interesting as the dessert itself. 

The recipe is traditionally British and is thought to have originated in the Lake District of England. Despite its British heritage, many people attribute the recipe to two Canadian air force officers who passed it on to a hotelier in Lancashire during the Second World War.  

There’s an ongoing debate about its origin, adding an air of mystery to this beloved dessert. 

Sticky toffee pudding has long been a staple on the menus of British pubs and restaurants. Its appeal transcends cultures and palates, thanks to the universal love for its main components – moist sponge cake and lush caramel sauce.  

Despite its name, it’s not a pudding in the Jell-O sense that Americans might think of. “Pudding” is a generic term used in Britain to refer to desserts of all kinds. 

Regardless of where it originated, sticky toffee pudding is now enjoyed all over the world. It’s a warm, comforting dessert, perfect for the colder months but enjoyed year-round. I find it fascinating how such a simple dish has travelled the globe and won the hearts of so many.  

It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of comfort food – it’s about more than just sustenance; it’s about tradition, nostalgia, and the joy of eating something that tastes like it was made with love. 

Using Regular Flour in Sticky Toffee Pudding  

When I first started making sticky toffee pudding, I was a bit confused about the use of self-raising flour. It’s not something I regularly kept in my pantry, so I started wondering: could I substitute it with regular flour? It turns out, you can, but you need to tweak the recipe a bit. 

Self-raising flour is a combination of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. It’s used to add volume and light texture to baked goods. So, if you’re out of self-raising flour, you can easily make it at home. For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 and a half teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix it well, and voila – you have your homemade self-raising flour! 

When using this mixture in your sticky toffee pudding recipe, the results should be quite similar to using store-bought self-raising flour. The baking powder acts as a leavening agent, giving your pudding a nice lift and fluffiness. 

That being said, I also tried making the pudding with just all-purpose flour and no leavening agents. The result was a denser, less airy pudding. Some people might prefer this texture, but I personally love the lightness that the self-raising flour (or the substitute) brings to the dish. 

Don’t fret if you don’t have self-raising flour at hand. A simple adjustment can help you achieve a similar result with ingredients you already have in your pantry. I hope this encourages you to experiment with your baking and not be discouraged by the lack of a specific ingredient. 

Exploring Alternatives to Dates in Sticky Toffee Pudding 

I love the deep, complex sweetness that dates add to sticky toffee pudding. However, I understand that not everyone shares my passion for this sweet fruit.  

Some find the taste overpowering, while others may not have it readily available in their local stores. So, I set out to find viable substitutes for dates in sticky toffee pudding. 

Firstly, you could use dried figs. Figs have a similar texture to dates and a sweet flavour that complements the toffee sauce. I used the same quantity of figs as the recipe calls for dates, and the result was fantastic. 

Secondly, I tried prunes. Prunes, or dried plums, have a sticky texture akin to dates and natural sweetness. When I used prunes, the cake had a deeper colour and a slightly different flavour profile, but it was still delicious. 

Another option I tried was raisins. I used a mix of golden and dark raisins. The raisins lent a unique, tangy sweetness to the pudding, which contrasted nicely with the toffee sauce. 

Lastly, if you’re looking for a less sweet option, you could use dried apricots. The apricots added a nice tartness to the pudding, balancing out the richness of the toffee sauce. 

Remember, when using a substitute, it’s essential to consider the moisture content. Dates are quite moist, and if your substitute is drier, you might need to adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe to ensure the pudding doesn’t turn out dry. 

These experiments were a testament to the versatility of sticky toffee pudding. Even with changes to a key ingredient, it’s a dessert that holds its charm. 

Storing and Enjoying Sticky Toffee Pudding Longer  

After making my sticky toffee pudding, there are times when I find myself with leftovers. In these cases, I wonder how long it will last in the fridge. As a general rule, sticky toffee pudding can last up to 5 days in the fridge, as long as it’s properly stored in an airtight container. 

Before storing the pudding, ensure it has completely cooled down. Putting hot or warm food in the fridge can lead to condensation, which might affect the texture and taste of the pudding. Once cooled, I transfer it into an airtight container or wrap it tightly with cling film to prevent it from drying out or absorbing other flavours in the fridge. 

When it’s time to enjoy the leftovers, you can eat the pudding cold straight from the fridge if you prefer, but I love it best when it’s warm. To reheat it, I usually put a serving in the microwave for about a minute or until it’s heated through.  

If I’m not in a hurry, I reheat it in the oven at a low temperature, covered with foil to prevent it from drying out. 

In my experience, the flavour of sticky toffee pudding even seems to deepen a bit after a day or two. The cake continues to soak up the toffee sauce, resulting in a more intense flavour.  

So, don’t worry if you can’t finish your sticky toffee pudding in one go. With proper storage and reheating, you can continue to enjoy this delicious dessert for several days. 

Freezing and Reheating Sticky Toffee Pudding  

Sticky toffee pudding is one of those desserts that I love to have on hand for those sweet tooth cravings. So, naturally, I asked myself one day, can you freeze sticky toffee pudding? The answer, to my delight, is yes. 

Before freezing, I allow the pudding to cool completely. Then, I wrap it tightly in cling film and add an extra layer of aluminium foil for good measure.  

This double-layer protection helps prevent freezer burn and ensures that the pudding retains its delightful texture and flavour. Once properly wrapped, it can be safely stored in the freezer for up to three months. 

When the craving hits, I take the pudding out of the freezer. Now, the question is, how do I reheat it? For the best results, I’ve found that it’s better to let the pudding thaw overnight in the fridge. This gradual defrosting helps maintain the pudding’s structure and texture. 

Once it’s completely defrosted, I remove the cling film and foil, place it in an oven-safe dish, and reheat it in a preheated oven at 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 for about 15-20 minutes or until heated through. If the pudding starts to look too brown or crispy, I cover it with some foil to prevent it from drying out. 

As for the toffee sauce, I prefer to make it fresh when serving the reheated pudding. However, you can also freeze the sauce in a separate airtight container and thaw it in the fridge along with the pudding. Heat it gently in a saucepan until it’s pourable, and you’re good to go. 

Freezing sticky toffee pudding has been a game-changer for me, allowing me to have this delightful dessert at my fingertips whenever I desire. 

Avoiding a Dense or Heavy Sticky Toffee Pudding  

I’ve experienced my share of baking mishaps, and sticky toffee pudding is no exception. One of the most common issues I’ve encountered is the pudding turning out too dense or heavy. But with some troubleshooting, I’ve learned how to avoid this. 

Firstly, make sure to cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. This step is crucial for incorporating air into the batter, leading to a lighter pudding. I’ve found that it usually takes about 5 minutes of creaming with an electric mixer to achieve the right texture. 

Another tip is to not overmix the batter. Once the flour is added, it’s tempting to mix vigorously to ensure everything is well combined. But overmixing can lead to a dense, heavy pudding. I’ve found that gently folding in the flour until it’s just combined works best. 

The type of dates used can also affect the texture of the pudding. Drier dates can absorb more moisture from the batter, leading to heavier pudding. To avoid this, I prefer to use Medjool dates, which are naturally moister.  

If those aren’t available, soaking the dates in hot water for about 10 minutes before using can help soften them and add moisture. 

Lastly, make sure not to underbake the pudding. An underbaked sticky toffee pudding can seem heavy or dense. I always test the doneness by inserting a toothpick into the centre. If it comes out clean, the pudding is done. If not, I bake for a few more minutes and check again. 

With these tips in mind, achieving a perfectly light and moist sticky toffee pudding has become a breeze. 

Making Vegan or Gluten-Free Sticky Toffee Pudding  

A few friends of mine follow a vegan or gluten-free diet, which got me wondering: can sticky toffee pudding be adapted to meet these dietary restrictions? After some experimenting in the kitchen, I found that, yes, it can! 

To make a vegan sticky toffee pudding, I swapped out the butter for a plant-based butter alternative or coconut oil. I chose a plant-based butter that had a rich, creamy flavour to closely mimic traditional butter. For the eggs, I used flax eggs.  

To make a flax egg, I mixed one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for about 15 minutes until it thickened. I found that this swap worked great in providing the necessary binding without altering the flavour significantly.  

Lastly, for the double cream in the toffee sauce, I used full-fat coconut milk. It gave the sauce a creamy consistency, and the slight coconut flavour added a delightful twist. 

On the other hand, to make the pudding gluten-free, I substituted the self-raising flour with a gluten-free baking flour blend. Be sure to find a blend that contains xanthan gum, as it acts as a binder in gluten-free baking.  

Alternatively, you can use a gluten-free flour of your choice and add about a quarter teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour. 

While these modifications do slightly change the taste and texture of the sticky toffee pudding, I found the result to be just as satisfying. It’s fantastic to know that with a few clever substitutions, this delightful dessert can be enjoyed by those following a vegan or gluten-free lifestyle. 

Exciting Sides to Serve with Sticky Toffee Pudding  

While I absolutely love the classic combination of sticky toffee pudding with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, sometimes I like to mix things up. If you’re also looking for ways to enhance your sticky toffee pudding experience, here are some suggestions that I’ve tried and loved. 

One side I really enjoy is a fresh fruit compote. The tartness of fruits like raspberries, blackberries, or even rhubarb provides a delightful contrast to the rich, sweet flavours of the pudding. Simmer your chosen fruit with a bit of sugar until it becomes soft and syrupy, and spoon it over the warm pudding. 

Another option is to serve the pudding with a sprinkle of chopped nuts. I love how the crunchy texture of toasted pecans, almonds, or walnuts complements the soft, moist cake. Plus, it adds a touch of sophistication to the dessert. 

For a truly indulgent treat, I recommend serving the pudding with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce in addition to the toffee sauce. The combination of salty and sweet is simply divine and takes the dessert to a whole new level 

Finally, for a slightly lighter alternative, a dollop of Greek yoghurt on top of the warm pudding works wonderfully. The tartness of the yoghurt cuts through the sweetness of the pudding and makes for a less heavy dessert. 

There’s no limit to the ways you can serve sticky toffee pudding. With a little creativity, you can tailor the dessert to suit your personal taste or impress at your next dinner party. 

Deciphering the Consistency of Toffee Sauce 

One aspect of making sticky toffee pudding that initially threw me for a loop was getting the consistency of the toffee sauce just right. The perfect toffee sauce is smooth, thick, and pours easily over the pudding. Here’s what I’ve learned on my journey to mastering this delectable sauce. 

To start with, use a heavy-bottomed saucepan. This ensures even heat distribution, reducing the chances of the sugar burning before it completely dissolves.  

I start by melting the butter and sugar together, stirring continuously over medium heat. The aim is to dissolve the sugar completely into the butter. The mixture will first look grainy, then glossy and smooth as the sugar dissolves. 

Next, pour in the double cream. The initial reaction can be quite vigorous, causing the sauce to bubble up. This is normal, so don’t be alarmed. Continue stirring until the mixture is homogenous. 

Now, the key to achieving the perfect consistency lies in the simmering stage. I’ve found that simmering the sauce for 5-10 minutes yields the ideal thickness.  

During this time, the sauce will start to darken slightly, becoming a beautiful deep amber colour. If the sauce seems too thick, I add a splash more cream. If it’s too thin, I let it simmer a bit longer. 

Remember, the sauce will thicken further as it cools, so don’t worry if it seems a bit thin in the pan. 

Perfecting the toffee sauce took a few tries, but it was worth every effort. It’s the crowning glory of the sticky toffee pudding, and getting it right elevates the dessert from great to exceptional. 

My Experience Using Fresh Dates in Sticky Toffee Pudding  

Once, out of sheer curiosity, I decided to use fresh dates instead of dried ones in my sticky toffee pudding. While it isn’t conventional, the experiment offered some interesting insights. 

Firstly, I noticed that fresh dates have a less concentrated sweetness compared to their dried counterparts. They also have a softer texture and higher water content, which affects the overall moisture level in the cake. 

To compensate for the reduced sweetness, I increased the amount of brown sugar in the cake batter by about 15-20%. This ensured that the cake still had the characteristic sweetness that is central to sticky toffee pudding. 

As for the texture, I chopped the fresh dates finely and folded them into the batter. They blended seamlessly into the mixture, and after baking, the pudding was studded with small, soft bits of dates that added a lovely texture. 

The additional moisture from the fresh dates made the cake exceptionally moist. It was soft, tender, and had an almost melt-in-the-mouth quality. However, I did have to bake the pudding for an extra 10 minutes to ensure it was cooked through due to the extra moisture. 

Using fresh dates in sticky toffee pudding was a success, albeit with a few minor adjustments. The resulting pudding was wonderfully moist and had a slightly fresher, fruitier flavour. It’s an option worth considering if you have an abundance of fresh dates or if you prefer a less intensely sweet dessert 

By being open to experimentation, I’ve been able to explore new dimensions of this beloved dessert, further deepening my appreciation for it. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

Oh, you’ve just enjoyed my Sticky Toffee Pudding? Well, have I got some sweet surprises for you! You absolutely cannot resist trying out my delectable Croissants. Imagine beginning your morning with a warm, flaky pastry, each bite an explosion of buttery bliss. And it doesn’t stop there. 

Have you ever tasted my Vanilla Tray Bake? It’s a delightful medley of soft cake infused with rich, creamy vanilla essence, each slice takes you on a journey of enchanting sweetness that’s akin to our Sticky Toffee Pudding 

Now, if you’re in the mood to indulge your senses even more, take a bite of my Chocolate Chip Muffin. A decadent treat oozing with molten chocolate, they’re enough to make any dessert lover weak in the knees. 

And let’s not forget about my Cherry Cobbler. Sweet, tart cherries bubbling under a perfectly golden crumble – it’s a dance of flavours and textures that’s simply unforgettable. 

Last, but definitely not least, my tantalizing Oreo Cheesecake is a must-try. Imagine a velvety cheesecake layer sitting atop a crunchy Oreo base, a match made in dessert heaven. It’s simply irresistible. 

So, go on, give them a whirl! I’m sure you’ll love these recipes as much as the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Don’t forget to leave me a comment; I’d love to hear about your baking adventures. 

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

by Nabeela Kauser
Experience the sweet, sumptuous delight of making a classic sticky toffee pudding at home. This time-honoured British dessert, although easy to prepare, promises to amaze with its mouth-watering toffee flavour and irresistible texture. 
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Baking, Dessert
Cuisine British, Western
Servings 8
Calories 581 kcal


  • 175 g Dates Finely chopped
  • 175 g Self Raising Flour
  • 175 g Brown Sugar Light
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 75 g Butter Unsalted, softened
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 200 ml Water Boiling

For the toffee sauce:


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
  • Grease a 20cm square baking dish with butter.
  • Put the chopped dates into a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Stir in the baking soda and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Fold in the flour and vanilla extract, then add the date mixture and stir until well combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • While the pudding is baking, make the toffee sauce. Melt the butter and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Pour in the double cream and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  • Once the pudding is cooked, remove it from the oven and prick it all over with a fork.
  • Pour half of the toffee sauce over the pudding and let it soak in for a few minutes.
  • Serve the pudding warm, drizzled with the remaining toffee sauce and a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired. Enjoy!


Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 581kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 6gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 178mgPotassium: 270mgFibre: 2gSugar: 60gVitamin A: 972IUVitamin C: 0.2mgVitamin D: 1µgCalcium: 77mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Baked, Baking, Comfort Food, Dessert, Food, Recipe
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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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