A New Sticky Toffee Pudding

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on July 31, 2011


I love sticky toffee pudding…have you ever had it? Unfortunately most places don’t make it the right way. Usually, the cake is baked separately and then topped with a toffee sauce during service. Although delicious, this is not a real sticky toffee pudding.

A real sticky toffee pudding is a steamed date nut cake that bakes in its own toffee sauce, so when you turn out the warm cake, a delicious sauce pours out on top of it. The toffee sauce is a gooey caramel mixture that includes butter and/or cream that is added into the pan first and then topped with the cake batter. This is then covered with a lightly oiled piece of foil or parchment paper and steamed in a water bath in the oven.

Sticky toffee pudding is a very traditional English dessert which is hard to find here in the USA, so whenever I see it on a dessert menu, my heart simply skips a beat.

Growing up in Australia, our food had a very English influence and that influence also included the desserts we ate. Some of the uniquely named desserts we enjoyed were Eaton mess, pavlova, cream and jam filled lamington cake and a curiously named steamed pudding called spotted dick. This steamed pudding is essentially a vanilla sponge cake filled with golden raisins that is served with a vanilla custard sauce.

As a treat, my mother would pick up canned steamed pudding cakes which were readily available in Australia at the time. All you had to do was gently heat the can in simmering water for a few minutes to warm the cake and the sauce, then simply open the can pour it out into a dish and enjoy.

Honestly, they were so good…

My favorite was the chocolate fudge and of course the sticky toffee pudding with its own toffee sauce. I checked out a few UK sites and found this one where you can still find some of these steamed pudding cakes in a can. Nowadays, I prefer to make them from scratch and rarely eat anything out of a can anymore.

The reason I love this dessert so much is that it also incorporates one of my other favorite foods…dates. I especially love the Medjool dates and incorporate them in my food and desserts whenever I can.

Over the years, I had tried a few recipes for sticky toffee pudding but was always disappointed because the cake always turned out so dry. Then I came across a recipe a few weeks ago that included apple sauce of all things, which I thought was a great idea to add some extra moisture. The neutral flavor of the apple will not adulterate the overall flavor of the cake. I developed the cake recipe, tested and tweaked it a few times and I believe that it is just perfect in both flavor and texture.

Then I took it a step further…

I happened to see a recipe for a chocolate flan cake which is essentially a chocolate cake with a flan custard baked right into the batter. At the mere suggestion of added custard, you are either picking yourself up off the floor after a moment of sugar induced ecstasy or you may be thinking that this just may be overkill…

Hardly, sticky toffee pudding and custard are a match made in heaven and I was now itching to try this new combination.

I’m happy to say that I was right…the cake not only looks fantastic but is so moist and delicious with the added flavor and smoothness of the custard. You will most definitely get oodles of compliments on this very original sticky toffee pudding cake.

Sticky Toffee Pudding (makes 1 large 10 bundt)


2 cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

¼ cup corn syrup (prevents crystallization)

½ cup water, added last


Custard Flan

1 can evaporated milk

1 can sweetened condensed milk

6 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla


Date & Nut Cake

9 oz Medjool dates, pitted (about 12 pieces)

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce (9 oz)

4.5 oz molasses

2 tablespoons cognac (or vanilla) (.4 oz)

¼ cup walnut oil (2 oz)

2 large eggs (3.6 oz)

¾ cup packed light brown sugar (5 oz)

1 cup walnuts (3oz)

1½ cups flour (7.5 oz)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Before you start, add the dates, apple sauce, molasses, cognac (or vanilla) and walnut oil into a small bowl and set aside. Allow them to macerate while you are preparing the other items. This will be pureed together later.

Gently spray your bundt pan to prevent sticking and set aside.

Next you need to make the caramel. Add all of the ingredients to a small pot and cook the sugar on high until it becomes a deep amber color. Pour half of this into a greased bundt pan and allow the caramel to cool. Add the other ½ cup of water to the rest of the sugar in the pot. Be careful not to burn yourself, the hot caramel may bubble up. Put this back on the stove on low heat and allow this to all melt together for a few minutes. This will make some extra caramel sauce for the cake. After about 5 minutes remove from the heat and set aside.

Next, you need to make the custard by separating the eggs and placing the yolks into a medium sized bowl. Add the condensed and evaporated milk along with the vanilla and whisk well together then set aside.

The cake is quite easy to put together. Add the walnuts to your food processor and finely grind. Add all of the wet ingredients that have been macerating together to the nuts and process until smooth. Then, add the eggs and the brown sugar and mix again. Measure out all of your dry ingredients into a small bowl and then add this to the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and mix well. It should look like this…

By now the caramel has cooled. Pour the custard into the bundt pan first and then gently spoon all of the date nut batter on top of the custard mixture.

Put the bundt pan into another larger pan filled with water and then cover the whole thing with a lightly greased piece of foil and place into a preheated 350°F oven and bake for approximately 1½ hours or until cake springs back when gently touched. Remove from the water bath and allow the cake to cool completely. Once it has cooled, put the cake in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour so that the custard has a chance to set.  When you are ready to invert the cake onto a platter, you must loosen the cake and the custard from the pan. To do this, you must add some very hot (preferably boiled) water into the same pan you used to create your water bath. Place the bundt pan in this larger dish filled with hot water and allow it to sit there for approximately 5 minutes. Gently invert the cake onto your serving dish. Use the extra caramel sauce to coat the cake and serve immediately. Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Maria December 11, 2016 at 8:59 p

Oh my goodness. This was wonderful. It received the thumbs up from everyone in the family. a definite keeper.

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