Sticky toffee pudding

Sticky toffee pudding

B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

When I was a kid, our school used to serve sticky toffee pudding every now and then at lunchtime. It was always a treat and had us bolting it down as fast as we could, so we could sneak up and try to score seconds. I still have the same attitude to this sweet, dense, sticky pud and at home all decorum goes out of the window as we fight for who gets an extra share. ‘Combat eating’ becomes really intense when my wider family eats together: once you have me, my sisters and all the little cousins around a table, it is a dog-eat-dog situation when this pud appears. A nostalgic sticky treat.


Quantity Ingredient

For the pudding

Quantity Ingredient
225g pitted dates
200ml boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon instant coffee
75g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the dish
140g dark brown muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs
175g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

For the butterscotch sauce

Quantity Ingredient
50g unsalted butter
100g dark soft brown sugar
100ml double cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
ovenproof dish, about 1½ litre capacity (mine is 27 x 23 cm)
electric whisk
food processor


  1. Roughly chop the dates and put them in a bowl with the boiling water, the bicarbonate of soda and coffee. Stir well and set aside for 20 minutes to soak.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Liberally butter an ovenproof dish of about 1½ litres in volume (mine is 27 x 23 cm) or line a similar-sized baking tin with baking parchment.
  3. Beat together the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk until lighter-coloured and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste and thoroughly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa powder and fold them into the batter with a silicone spatula.
  5. Pour the dates – along with their soaking liquid – into a food processor and blitz down to a smooth purée. Fold into the batter, then carefully scrape into the prepared dish or tin.
  6. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until a cocktail stick comes out clean when poked into the centre.
  7. While the pudding is cooking, make the butterscotch sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Once it has melted, add the brown sugar and cream, then increase the heat to medium and continue to stir until the mixture begins to boil. Whisk the mixture over the heat for 2–3 minutes using the electric whisk, then add the lemon juice and whisk for another 2–3 minutes. Pour the sauce into a heatproof jug and serve with the pudding.


  • This recipe has a level 2 (intermediate) difficulty.


  • This rich, dark and delicious pudding is ideal for a cold winter’s evening or a long weekend’s slobbing out in front of the TV. The dates gives this pud its unmistakable stickiness and make it a real winner. If you can get them, use fresh Medjool dates for extra stickiness, but the regular type work brilliantly, too. If you fancy your puddings a bit more dirty and mouth-watering, then add 1 teaspoon of salt to the butterscotch sauce for a little more of a grown-up flavour. If you can’t find, or just don’t like, dates, you can replace them with plump sultanas or sticky prunes and it will still taste lovely. Hopefully this will become a family favourite for you just as much as it is for us; just try to maintain a little decorum at the table while you’re piling into it…
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