Despite being a massive Great British Bake Off superfan, I often find myself underwhelmed with a lot of Brit desserts (as they’re often a bit less moist than I prefer myself). But as I discovered on a trip to Scotland several years ago, sticky toffee pudding does NOT fall into that category.
In fact, I’m obsessed. This has a very “fall” feel to it (and that’s when I first made it), but this is true cold weather comfort food all winter long.
The thing is, I don’t like “toffee” at all, so I’d never paid this dessert any attention. I was excited to find that it doesn’t actually include any toffee, and instead is a moist treacly cake doused with buttery, sugary sauce.
(And even describing it like that would make me think I wouldn’t like it…BUT I DO. The world is a mystery.)
So is it a pudding or a cake?? Yes. British people call desserts “pudding”, which is baffling, and it’s definitely a cake. And if I understand correctly, it’s considered a “pudding” due to being more moist and having a sauce, rather than being super cake-like??
Brits, hit me up in the comments and help me understand…I’m reading between the lines of GBBO episode critiques.
As I’m one person and didn’t want to gain 32 pounds just from this recipe, I halved the recipe and it made 4 small ramekins. Halving is tricky with some of the amounts, but for any time I need to half a “3/4” amount, I shoot for halfway between 1/3 and 1/2.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 6 to 8 ramekins (about 6 ounces each) with butter or cooking spray and place on a baking tray, or lightly grease an 8×8- or 9×9-inch pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped dates, boiling water, baking soda and vanilla extract. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.
While that’s sitting, make the batter. In a large stand mixer bowl (or using an electric hand mixer), cream together the granulated sugar and butter until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between. I also recommend taking a tablespoon or two of your flour and adding here, just to keep the eggs from curdling.
Add a 1/2 cup of the flour with the baking powder and salt, and combine. Then mix in the remaining flour, until JUST combined (don’t overmix!).
Lastly, fold in the liquid date mixture…don’t drain, just chuck it all in there. And don’t overmix!
Fill the ramekins evenly with the batter, about 2/3 full, or spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for 18-22 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). If using a square baking pan, bake for 22-30 minutes depending on the size. You definitely don’t want to overbake or you’ll have dry cake.
Let the cakes cool (you can serve slightly warm if you want) and make the sauce. Combine the sugar, butter, cream, and salt in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the sauce is smooth and combined, 5-7 minutes.
Apparently I forgot to take pics of that but well…imagine a saucepan with sauce 🙂
Turn out the ramekins onto plates or put cake slices on individual plates. Pour the warm sauce over the individual servings and drizzle with a teaspoon or so of heavy cream (optional, but I highly recommend).
Just…WOWZA. I wish I knew how to make googly eyes in text form.
I’m legitimately so obsessed with this sticky toffee pudding. It’s like a warm hug in the middle of cold weather (especially this gnarly polar vortex nonsense we have going on). And so crazy easy!
As long as you don’t think about the calories you’ll be fine…
Other British-inspired treats you’ll love:
- Almond Pavlova with Balsamic Berries
- Subtle & Delicious Salted Honey Custard
- Paul Hollywood’s Chelsea Buns
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe