Sticky Toffee Pudding: the perfect date (or fig) for caramel lovers

StickyToffeePuddingC1H

Break out your Wellies and bumbershoot, it’s a drizzly day. When it’s nearly time for dinner, what treats can we make to chase away the cold weather blahs and fill us with comfort? Even more important, what can we make for pudding today?

Dash away all thoughts of a box of powdered cocoa and sugar concoction, in Britain “pudding” is how they say “dessert”. Before you think I’m glocky and  telling porkies, I swear by my only chavy I’m telling the truth. Okay, I’ll get off of the British slang glossary website and speak American again. Loosely translated, it says “before you think I’m nuts and telling pork pies (lies), I swear by my only child I’m telling the truth.”.  Your Wellies and bumbershoot? That’s your rainboots and your umbrella.

I may kid around about mudboots and my level of mental stability, but I never kid about dessert. On a rainy day, I know you want comfort food. No pickled pepper chocolate truffles, no vanilla bean asparagus shortbread, just good old pudding. In this case, a sticky toffee pudding.

What exactly is a sticky toffee pudding? Well first of all it’s a name that’s very hard to pronounce without at least a hint of British accent, no matter who you are. The dessert itself is a slightly sweet molasses cake that is soaked in a homemade caramel sauce that creates the “sticky” part of the dish. For some reason, I always used to think that sticky toffee pudding took days to make and tasted of coffee (my former arch-nemesis). When Charlotte our recipe developer was creating and testing this recipe I was pleased to learn it could be made in about half and hour and was a wealth of caramel flavor without a hint of coffee in site. Move over chocolate lava cake, there is a new soft and sweet sensation in town.

Don’t Adam and Eve it? (don’t believe it?) Come on, let’s go make some sticky toffee pudding.

Soak the 1 cup dried dates or figs in the 2/3 cup boiling water as you work on the batter.

You’ll see how nicely they soften up and become plump and tender.

In the bowl of your mixer, blend together until light and fluffy:
¼ cup soft butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Add in:
1 large egg
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend in:
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend.

10 points to your house if you know what is wrong with this picture. That’s right, always scrape down the bowl after beating! Just look at how much flour would go unincorporated if you didn’t scrape it down with a spatula.

Puree the softened dates and water in your food processor of blender.

A word of caution. If you aren’t careful with your spatula, you’ll end up with it stuck fast to the blades. My dilemma prompted me to send an email out to a few of the guys in the department, promising a warm sticky pudding to anyone would could come and pull the sword from the stone, or at least open the bottom of the blender to free my poor stuck spatula. Public shout out to Frank, who came to my rescue.

After you blend in the puree and the baking soda, scoop the batter into 6 mini silicone baking pans, or 6 small ramekins.

If you use silicone cups, it’s still a good idea to give them a spritz with cooking spray to ensure the cakes slide out, and place them on a baking sheet for stability.

Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the cakes are light and springy in the center when touched lightly. Set aside to cool in the cups.

The cakes are very good on their own, but it’s the caramel sauce that really sends them over the top into sticky pudding goodness land. In a small saucepan, combine:
½ cup Baker’s  superfine sugar, or granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt; omit if using salted butter

Whisk over medium-low heat until the sauce turns from pale to deep amber in color. This sugar mixture will scorch if left unattended, so stay right on top of it.

Mmm, thick caramel sauce, so good. But we’re not done yet.

Whisk in 3/4 cup heavy cream and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. It will seem thinner than when you started but that’s exactly how you want it, so it will soak into the cakes.


To serve, place each cake in a small bowl or serving dish with a rim so you keep every drop of sauce as you pour it over the top of the cake.

The first bite is a revelation of warm cake, warm sauce and rich caramel flavor. The cake is soft and tender from the Unbleached Cake Flour blend, and the sauce soaks in to each bite and creates the sticky goodness this dessert is famous for.

This is a dessert I would make on a rainy night, when you want a cozy, comfortable dessert that will wrap your taste buds in little blankets of caramel. So, tell your bricks and mortars (daughters), and your baker’s dozen (cousin), you can make pudding with the best of them.

Please bake, rate and review our recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Print just the recipe.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. "anna mid-maine"

    I have 6 different types of flour, none of which are cake flour and really do not want to acquire another for one recipe. KAF AP flour, by weight not volume, works very well in the birthday cakes we make. Would any adjustments need to be made in weighing AP flour for this recipe?

    I, too, avoided anything with toffee for years, thinking it had a coffee flavor. And caramel is my favorite flavor.
    I’d say put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in the cup before sprinkling in the rest of the flour for measuring by volume. For weight, replace 1 ounce per cup of flour with 1 ounce of cornstarch and you should get a nice, tender cake. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. aaronatthedoublef

    “Pudding” in the UK means dessert if it comes at the end of the meal. Sometimes it is a sausage as in “black pudding”. I have a friend who almost learned this the hard way.
    I’ll have to keep that in mind, although to be honest I don’t think I could ever bring myself to order black pudding. Good thing American English is so much easier to follow dude, fer shur. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. mboone5758

    I’ve been known to put a Tablespoon of dark brown sugar in a custard cup or silicone muffin case. Then, add a scant teaspoon of unsalted butter on top. I’ve put a few drops of half and half in too. Melt in the microwave; pour over a muffin or my finger!

    Love the taste of toffee. I’ve made homemade candy in years past.
    Brilliant!! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. aoifeofcheminnoir

    Anything with “dates” will get my undivided attention! Wonder if these could be done in muffin pans for smaller portions? By the way, I read a lot of British authors and love their rhyming slang!

    Reply
  5. kjones71

    I learned to make this dessert in Ireland and they soak the dates in tea. It seems more traditional and gives a little extra boost of flavor over plain ole’ water. Try it!
    What a great idea! I’m going to try that next time! Thanks for the tip! ~Mel

    Reply
    1. Mary

      Good idea…..but what KIND of tea, that is the question! Do I use my nice Ceylon Afternoon or my 1709 that gets the heart started on a 3 yr old dead spider plant?

  6. nelll

    Quick, quick, change “British accent” to “English accent” before you get a lesson in politics from your readers over the pond. (They’ll tell you that there’s no such thing as a “British accent” since Great Britain refers to England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and various outlying islands. And believe me, they don’t all speak with one accent. Some are actually intelligible.) So change it quick and delete this comment. We Yanks have got to stick together.
    I changed it, but you get to own up too :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. madamemim

    The recipe looks fabulous, but I can’t help commenting on a mistaken “Britishism” that isn’t (as a part Brit, they make me itch). Bumbershoot is pure American, only for some reason at some point Americans decided it was British. This article has the history – http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_good_word/2011/11/bumbershoot_it_means_umbrella_but_it_s_not_british_for_umbrella.html
    Sweet! Thanks for the history lesson. I’ve read Christie and Conan Doyle since childhood and never saw it there, only in the movies. Does this mean that french fries really aren’t from France either ;). ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. jenzings

    We have Sticky Toffee Pudding once a year at Christmas. I’ve never seen a recipe with molasses in it though–is that a KAF twist?

    Also, in our home, it must always be served with hot vanilla custard sauce (basically a warm creme anglaise), in addition to the caramel sauce…very yummy.
    Yes, I think the molasses was a New England style addition, but I’ll see what Charlotte says. The vanilla mixed with caramel sounds divine. I always want bechamel with my red sauce on pasta too. Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. Gayu

    Any make ahead tips? Can I make the sauce ahead of time? And warm the cakes/sauce in mwave before serving?
    The same question also for molten lava cakes? Can I make them ahead? Ideas?
    Thanks so much!
    Both of these recipes are best made and served immediately. ~Amy

    Reply
  10. debj

    I have a block of your caramel. How can I turn it into a caramel sauce to use in this recipe? (Hmmm… melt and add cream maybe?)
    Yes, you can melt the caramel and add cream. Use 2 tablespoons of heavy cream per 3 ounces of caramel. ~Amy

    Reply
  11. amazonium

    You have perfect timing! We are planning a traditional British Christmas dinner this year and I thought about making a sticky toffee pudding. Having never made it (or tasted it for that matter) I was hesitant, but now I have YOUR recipe to use so I know all will be well. I haven’t been disappointed by any of the recipes on this blog so far. Y’all rock!

    June
    We aim to please June. Have a great holiday, sounds like lots of fun. You are getting Christmas crackers, right? You MUST wear the silly hat! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. binag

    According to Layla Denwood, a pastry chef at the Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel where Sticky Toffee Pudding originated, they keep the baked puddings covered in the sauce for two days to really let the caramel flavour soak in. They then reheat the covered dish in a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes. I’ve tried this and it is toffee heaven!
    In the words of my youth… gimme, gimme, gimme, mine, mine, mine. ;) ~MaryJane

    Reply
  13. MelissaP

    How about brolly instead of bumbershoot? That is chiefly British. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brolly (Huzzah Mr. Webster!) The pudding sounds wonderful either way. I also would love to know how muffin-sized ones work out.
    I think muffins tins would work beautifully. You’d probably get 8 or so instead of six, but they should come out of the pans easily and be ready for their caramel coats. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  14. barbara1021

    Perfect timing for this post as I’ve been looking for a recipe to make for Christmas! Think it would be ok to make this in a cake pan instead of ramekins? Any suggestions as to what size cake pan I could use?
    I’d stick with muffin tins if you don’t have the ramekins. Fill them about half full and reduce the baking time a bit. I know that will work, but haven’t tested this as a cake layer. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  15. SaraNewt

    Quite tasty! I had several pears that were getting old, so I chopped them up very tiny and used that instead of figs/dates…and added a teaspoon of ginger! Excellent sauce and texture.
    Now how about some nutrition info?
    You can calculate the nutritional information of any recipe here. ~Amy

    Reply
  16. "jilkat25@gmail.com"

    The last time I had dried figs (and dates, apricots, prunes, cranberries), fresh cake flour, and silicone muffin cups in my house was…never. But I do today! I actually came here looking for a recipe for “figgy pudding” or plum pudding or some other olde-fashioned, steamed English Christmas pudding. I have one of those metal dessert steamers that came with a crock-pot I had in the 70’s (it is gold color with a latch-on, vented lid.) I was hoping to pop that thing (with my pudding) into my modern pressure cooker. Any suggestions? The caramel sauce looks wonderful, but my idea ultimately involves “hard sauce”, creme anglaise, or clotted cream, as well. I’m also thinking my pudding will be “visited by 3 spirits” (a la “A Christmas Carol”)-except the spirits I have in mind are scotch whiskey, dark rum, and a some kind of liqueur. I have silicone muffin cups but I’m determined to steam the pudding in the pressure cooker. I could steam it on a rack in the silicone cups, I guess. Didn’t they wrap their Christmas pudding in cheesecloth before steaming it in the old days, or in something gross like a sheep’s bladder (maybe that’s haggis)? I also have some fresh pears, as did the last reviewer, plus apples, and a ton of crystallized ginger. Any tips or ideas?
    Honest to goodness, I have NO experience with a pressure cooker, I suffer from pressure anxiety. I would suggest looking at some of the classic cookbooks like Joy of Cooking and Julia Child. I’m sure you will find some very very good information there. ** Fellow bakers, please jump in!** ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. Adrienne

    I made this recipe for the first time for our Christmas Eve dinner–everyone at the table had only taken ONE bite when it was universally declared a culinary sensation. Although I purchased the double-diced figs from KAF, I did not get the cake flour, nor superfine sugar. I used KAF unbleached all-purpose flour, and I don’t think cake flour was missed, but the toffee sauce would be better with the superfine sugar. Another thing–I did not have silicone cups, but used a pan with six molds that shape the cakes with a concave center. This kind of pan turned out to be absolutely perfect as it provided just the right place for pouring a “reservoir” of the delicious golden toffee sauce. Served with a tiny sprinkling of slice almonds on top of the sauce, and a dollop of whipped cream on the side–this is absolutely HEAVENLY! Thank you for a fabulous recipe that I am sure will be made at least annually in my household. By the way, I noticed, when looking at other sticky toffee pudding recipes that they all call for dates not figs. We all loved the taste and texture of the figs, that somehow I cannot imagine making it with dates now!
    Stop, stop, you’re making me hungry! That sounds like the perfect dessert and pan combo for your holiday figgy goodness. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  18. kbc18491

    I made this for Christmas dinner pudding this year and my British-raised family liked it way better than the traditional steamed suet bomb. I used ordinary grocery store cake flour, baked them in corningware ramekins and everything turned out fine.

    Reply
  19. wendyb964

    My mum is from London, and I love “veddy strong” English tea, nothing but bulk! Sticky tofffee pudding, imho, is “loverly.” Whilst I have not tried yours yet (perhaps tonight?) I had to commiserate with MJ: our family had a place on the garage wall for our “spatula hall o shame.” My sis and I over the past 20 yr have, umm, destroyed a few blenders, mixers, and a fair number of spatulas. I continued to use the ones with a lovely chunk out as long as the integrity of the implement is intact. My bro-in-law couldn’t believe I still had it. So hubs put it on the tool rack, and we now have over a dozen between our 2 families. Pretty hilarious to those who see them in the garage and have no idea.
    Thanks for the wonderful site, ingredients, and the awesome employee-owners. Cheeri-o!

    Reply
  20. susandcook

    I made this with dates and all-purpose KA flour, and the puddings came out perfectly. I didn’t want to make a trip to buy cream, so for a sauce I used that venerable partner of British steamed puddings: Lyle’s Golden Syrup (oh, and genuine Bird’s Eye Custard). Being a British ex-pat, those count as store cupboard staples!

    Reply
  21. Christina

    This is a much different recipe than the one I’ve always used. There’s no food processor needed, or molasses, for example. I had STP for the first time in the Highlands of Scotland and had to eat it with my fingers because I had to get it “to go” and they had no fork! I didn’t care it was SOOOOO good! In any case, here’s the recipe I use…I actually hate dates, but love this! Oh, and thank you for changing the “British” as I am from Scotland and yes, I would have corrected you too! :) http://christinascucina.blogspot.com/search/label/Sticky%20Toffee%20Pudding
    Your picture of the pudding looks wonderful! I had to laugh about requesting the pudding “to go”. They must have looked at you like you had 4 heads. Thanks for sharing. Elisabeth

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Mary-
      I don’t know specifically which bundt pan you are referring to, but you need to make these in individual servings. I also don’t think they would release well from a bundt pan, so I think I would try to leave them in a more simply designed pan to ensure you don’t lose all your hard work trying to get them on the plate. If you have any further questions, please feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-2253. Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

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