date cake with toffee sauce 3 Recipes

sticky toffee pudding

Prior to last month, I had spent exactly zero minutes of my life thinking about date cake, craving date cake or noting the absence of date cake in my life and/or site archives. Clearly, this was a misstep on my part, but I’d always assumed they were exceedingly sticky sweet, and also, well warm. I should just stop right here rather than confessing the latest entry in How Weird Are Deb’s Food Tastes?, I know I should, but that’s never stopped me before so here goes: I’m not very into warm, quivery desserts. Like soufflés. And oozy chocolate cakes. I basically don’t understand how I survived the 90s either. I understand if this means you cannot speak to me anymore.

dates dates dates
chopped dates

But all of this changed at a party, when, to be honest, it was getting late and I was tired from being roused awake before 6 that morning by a unnamed Kindergartener and mentally calculating how long it would take to get home in a cab vs. two subway lines and I was not craving dessert or cake in the least but I had a bite and all of this mental noise stopped, which is to say it was nothing short of a miracle, even if it hadn’t been spectacular. But it was that, too.

soaked chopped dates definitely look gross

ready for the oven
from the oven
butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla
probably you should use a bigger pot than me

This cake is so good and while it’s definitely sweet, it’s not exceedingly so. And one bite of the butterscotch sauce ladled over the humble square of cake forced me to reconsider everything I once thought I disliked about warm desserts. I love it when that happens.

where good things happen

This recipe hails from the first cookbook from Sunday Suppers, a cooking series and event space in Williamsburg, with stunning picture windows looking out over the bridge. Karen Mordechai, the founder and author, was inspired by the famed date cake at Moto, a restaurant under an elevated subway line nearby. A little Googling evidenced that it has something of a cult following, and if this version is as close to the original as promised, I’m not remotely surprised.

date cake, toffee sauce, tuft of cream
warm date cake with toffee sauce

Smitten Kitchen on Pinterest: Did you know that you can follow the Smitten Kitchen on Pinterest too? Plus, I’ve been working in the last couple weeks to get the page ready for holiday cooking with new boards with Everything Pumpkin (it’s the most wonderful tiiiiime of the year!), Thanksgiving: Savory (gobble, gobble), Thanksgiving: Sweet (mm, pie), Homemade Food Gifts, plus All The Cookies in the archives, because I promise, there’s nothing wrong with you that two cookies can’t fix. Hope that helps get your kitchen engines started.

One year ago: Perfect, Uncluttered Chicken Stock
Two years ago: Granola-Crusted Nuts
Three years ago: Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings
Four years ago: Spaghetti with Chickpeas
Five years ago: Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Six years ago: Pepita Brittle
Seven years ago: Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples
Eight years ago: Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp Bars
1.5 Years Ago: Essential Raised Waffles
2.5 Years Ago: Warm, Crisp and A Little Melty Salad Crouton
3.5 Years Ago: Creme Brulee French Toasts

Warm Date Cake with Toffee Sauce [Sticky Toffee Pudding]
Adapted from the Sunday Suppers Cookbook, where it was inspired by the version at Café Moto in Brooklyn

This cake would be as welcome on a holiday dinner table, which is what I most associate it with, yet is simple enough to be an ideal consolation prize for another dark, rainy fall day. I only made a couple changes such as adding a little salt to the cake itself, and a little sea salt to the top of the sauce, which nicely contrasts the sweetness. The original recipe calls for a 10×10-inch pan, which I have rarely seen and do not own. I used a 9×13-inch instead, and needed much, much less baking time (yay). It makes for a slightly thinner cake, but also more servings. You could easily serve 12 to 20 people with this. You could also halve everything and bake it in an 8×8-inch square pan.

Cake
3/4 pound (12 ounces, 340 grams or about 2 1/4 cups) dried dates
2 1/4 cups (530 ml) boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (25 grams) light or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 2/3 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour

Sauce
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (235 ml) heavy or whipping cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (215 grams) brown sugar (light is called for, but I’d like to use dark next time)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To serve
Unsweetened whipped cream (optional, but please don’t skip it)
A few flakes of sea salt
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Make the cake: Pit and roughly chop dates and place them in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over them and stir in the baking soda. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan. As an extra precaution, if you’re nervous about sticking (although this cake should not), you can line the bottom with a fitted rectangle of parchment paper.

Blend date-water mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and sugars. Whisk in eggs, then salt. Stir in the flour, then date puree. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

To serve it rustic-style, as we did, let it cool in the pan on a cooling rack. If you’d like to transfer it later to a serving plate, let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then flip it out onto a cooling rack, removing the parchment paper if you used it.

Make the sauce: Combine butter, cream, sugar and vanilla in a larger saucepan than you think you’ll need (I vote for 2 1/2 to 3 quarts) over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk for about 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.

To serve: Cut the cake into squares (still warm is just fine). Drizzle each slice with toffee sauce, a pinch of sea salt, and top with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. If your mint plant has survived the fall better than mine has, a leaf or two would be lovely here, too.

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268 comments on sticky toffee pudding

  1. I bought a massive bag of dates at Costco for baking projects. This is just what I’ve been waiting for.

    Incidentally, we’ve been surprisingly lucky with Daylight Savings this week and the 21 month old. Not sure what happened, but she’s still getting up at 5:30 every morning — as opposed to the 4:30 we were preparing ourselves for. How ridiculous is that I’m at the point where I find 5:30AM a reasonable hour?

  2. Barb Sanford

    I love, love, love my grandmother’s date bread. And this looks like the only way you could make date bread better — by making it cake, and pouring warm butterscotch over it. I just found my weekend baking project. Thank you!

  3. Pioneer Woman has a prune cake on her site from years ago that sounds a little similar, complete with the caramel-esque icing. I remember it being heavenly, and now I think I should make both this cake and the prune cake and compare.
    For science.

  4. deb

    Mary — I think it could be. Not positive they wouldn’t sink.

    Susie — You can, however, since it takes only 10 minutes and would probably take 5 minutes to heat, I might make it right before serving it. I found that the first time I reheated the sauce, it was fine, although it needed a lot of whisking because the butter had separated. Once it was simmering again, it was like it had never happened. The second time I reheated it, it became slightly grainy, though. So, I think right before serving is the easiest.

    Teresa — It’s fairly typical for date cakes, and you’re not the only one with the question. I’m going to consult BakeWise shortly and report back.

  5. Tracy D

    This looks really similar to my favorite sticky toffee pudding recipe. I think the main difference would be that in a Sticky Toffee pudding recipe you typically allow the sauce to soak into the cake part a bit by poking holes in it. But maybe I’m wrong about that. Either way, I’m sure I’ll love this recipe (like all your other recipes). Also, would you be able to provide metric measurements please?

  6. Kathleen

    I think you mean Sticky Toffee Pudding, no? ;) This was a favorite of mine when I was living in the UK, and I have a sneaking suspicion my love of this, coupled with a generous scoop of ice cream, was the cause of the the cavity I developed while I was there…

    Our Christmas Tradition is to have a themed holiday meal; we’ve done Japanese, French, German and Italian, and I lobbied hard (and won!) for a British Christmas meal this year. My motivation was being able to make this for dessert, and I will certainly try your recipe!

  7. Cam

    Hi Deb! So glad you posted one of my favorite cakes! “Sticky toffee pudding” is very popular in the UK, especially Scotland. I first tried it in a restaurant in Edinburgh, and knew immediately it would become a big part of my own baking repertoire!

  8. Robin

    This just confirms what an excellent food writer you are. I thought that never in a million years would I be interested in date cake, and now I feel that I must make this before I do anything else.

  9. Re. the baking soda. In the New York Times cookbook from a few years ago there is a superb date nut bread which involves soaking the dates and raisins in boiling water with a touch of baking soda. In the recipe’s notes Amanda Hesser says she wrote Harold McGee about it. He replied: “My guess is that the baking soda step is a quick way of hydrating and softening the fruit, and probably turns the date bits into mush, which would help moisten the cake more than discrete pieces.” McGee also thought the baking soda would help make the cake brown, and indeed, as Hesser puts it, “the cake emerges from the oven dark and tawny.”

  10. Nuala

    How do you keep all the things you want to make organized? Is there a link on here somewhere that already details your organizational skills that I seem to be missing? I have a million things I want to try but they’re spread between cookbooks, blogs, magazines, etc, etc, etc and I know I’ll never make half of them because I’ll forget where I ever found them. My plight! Looking for help! (The cake looks delicious, too).

  11. I, too, have a bag of dates from Costco to use. This seems much like a sheet cake version of the traditional British dessert called “Sticky Toffee Pudding” which also relies on dates for the sticky texture and sweetness. Can’t wait to try it this afternoon since the weather is so cold and drizzly.

  12. I’m another one who thinks this looks like sticky toffee pudding, which is one of the wonders of traditional British cuisine.

    Looks just about perfect right now.

  13. deb

    Sticky toffee pudding! — I thought this was the same thing, but correct me if I’m wrong (I often am!), with English “puddings” we’re really talking about cakes that are steamed, yes? So, it would be like this but steamed. Plus, I understand that sometimes black tea is used instead of water? Regardless, they are clearly cut from the same cloth. This might just be even simpler to make.

    Molly — That’s awesome and very helpful, thank you.

    Nuala — I just have one very long, totally overpopulated document. Some parts of it are organized into months and seasons. The top half, however, always ends up a pile of “things to make next” which spirals into the hundreds until I sort the items down again. I did, however, come up with a plan for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Let’s see if I can stick to it!

  14. Kimberley

    Hi Deb!

    Totally love this, because I always make David Lebovitz’ recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding and it would be amazing to compare the two!

    His isn’t steamed either though, so I’d totally qualify this as a STP! Also, he recommends pouring some of the sauce into the baking pan, freezing it and then putting the batter on top and baking it. This way, you don’t only pour the sauce over the cake, but also have it on the bottom!! I go crazy just thinking about it :)

  15. I may have just levitated off the sofa (scaring the bejesus out of my husband) when I read the title of this recipe. Dates. Check. Toffee. Check. Love? Absolutely. I have no doubt experimenting with a handful of crushed walnuts in the cake batter would be so good.

    Ash
    The Board and Wire

  16. Matt

    Ok, I feel compelled to comment:

    This recipe is almost identical to Stephanie Alexander’s in “The Cook’s Companion” although I’m pretty sure her’s is superior. One difference is that she pours some of the sauce over the cake for the last few minutes of baking, I recommend you try that if you like it sticky as is traditional in Australia and Britain.

    I had forgotten about “sticky toffee pudding” (as this is called in Australia) until a friend made it for me on a trip back there. I also had a pretty good rendition at Public in Nolita although I still think Stephanie’s version is the best. The comment in The Cook’s Companion is most appropriate:

    “This pudding has everything going for it: it is delicious, easy to make, required no fancy equipment and everyone loves it.”

  17. Gorgeous and quite similar to British sticky toffee pudding – once tasted, addicted for ever. Huhm, really should make one soon again.. I’ve never heard about black tea being used though ?!
    But NOT all puddings are or have to be steamed – for example Summer pudding is simply pressed, bread & butter pudding just baked and sticky toffee pudding does not get steamed either. Most of the time puddings with a suet or other dough are the ones which get steamed.

  18. hi deb – thanks so much – and I am so glad to hear you ventured to make it – it really is one of my favorites in the book and I’m mostly a savory person, so this is my kinda sweet. I love the idea of adding the sea salt ! was lovely sharing a meal with you and I hope to see you again soon xx

  19. Omar

    I think this will be part of my Thanksgiving meal. The Wednesday Chef did a chocolate version of date cake and it has made me a date lover! They are always in my fridge.

  20. Jillian

    Hey Deb, do you think one could make this in a springform? I have a rather large one that I think could make for a thicker cake – maybe longer cooking time. Those 10×10’s are really hard to come by – I agree!

  21. Anjali

    Just last week I was wondering when you would put up a recipe for this. Very happy to see it. I love it when there is a crusty top on this cake/pudding. I do it by poking holes on the cake after it has baked and pouring half the toffee sauce onto it. I then put it under the broiler in the middle of the oven, until a crusty top has formed. When serving, I put the rest of the sauce onto the cake. It tastes divine!

  22. Alexis

    Deb – often with English puddings, they do mean steamed. But in this case, it means a cake, very much like what you made here, and is baked not steamed, even in England. It was supposedly invented (or at least popularized) at the Sharrow Bay Hotel in Cumbria.

  23. Mary

    I might just make some actual caramel so that if I make it ahead I don’t have to worry about reheating the toffee and it getting grainy. I want to take it to a visit with my inlaws!

  24. deb

    Alex — Before! I meant to add that if you, like me, can only find pitted dates, you can use just shy of 2/3 pound instead.

    Theresa — I haven’t made a toffee/butterscotch sauce with coconut before, but I will soon for a recipe I’m working on. I can update back when I do, but it might be a week or two.

  25. Maddie

    I have tons of containers of date paste (Just dates I believe, nothing else on the ingredients list) left over from a Maamoul experiment. Do you think I could use that and bypass the whole dried dates, hot water, and baking soda step?

    1. deb

      Maddie — It would be hard to say unless we knew for sure whether or not water had been added to make the paste. If it seems very thick, maybe no water was added (and then you should still add it). But it’s hard to say since I don’t think it’s mandatory for ingredient labels to include water.

  26. Have you ever thought about soaking the dates in brandy or bourbon? I learned this little trick from Nigella Lawson, and anytime a recipe calls for dried fruit I add a little special sauce :) This recipe looks so delicious! My mom loves dates, I’ll have to make this for her!

  27. Tamsin

    I’m afraid we Brits are deliberately messing with you! We have a number of steamed puddings both sweet (think Christmas pudding) and savoury (steak and kidney pudding) but lots of us also refer to any warm, comforting dessert as ‘pudding’. Most sticky toffee pudding recipes are for a baked date cake with toffee sauce but, being a warm, rich dessert (which requires custard or cream on the side), it qualifies as a pudding. And some of us will refer to a sweet course following the main as pudding. Not at all confusing, right?!

  28. Maddie

    I do know that it’s very thick and I’ll have to check when I get home re: the actual details on the label. I will try it out! This looks so great, similar to a date cake my mom used to make for Christmas growing up when we were expats in the Middle East.

  29. Katie G

    This may show that I’m a novice, but is the picture of the toffee cooking what you would call a simmer? That term has always confused me and I would have guessed that picture was of a “boil”. Just hoping to learn a little more!

    1. deb

      Katie — I’d call it a boil. It was going too high at that point and I took the photo as a warning to others that you’ll want a bigger pot than seems necessary. Simmering would be tinier, gentler bubbles.

  30. Jenny

    This is definitely sticky toffee pudding! I’ve never heard it called date cake before, in fact I was very old before I realised there were dates in STP. Traditionally it would be steamed but I suspect many places bake it now for ease, and with hot toffee sauce and custard over it, no-one complains in the UK! I’m also not always a huge fan of hot puddings (definitely always prefer brownies cold or frozen, slices of cake room temperature) but this is heaven. So is golden sponge pudding, also with custard.

  31. Sticky toffee pud is a key part to any Christmas holiday for us. When I make it I usually poke holes in the top of the cake, pour half the sauce over it, and then return it to the oven for 5-10 minutes for the sauce to soak in. Then serve with remaining sauce. It is way better/gooey-er/more delicious this way in my opinion.

    The baking soda helps break down the dates and softens their skins (in the same way you use baking soda when cooking chickpeas for hummus).

  32. The original sticky toffee pudding came ( unless someone knows different!) from the lovely Sharrow Bay hotel by Ullswater in the Lake District in North West England. A variation was also championed by the late great John Tovey at Miller Howe. I love all versions and can’t wait to try this one !

  33. Ali

    No word of a lie, I was literally thinking to myself earlier today “I wonder if Deb has a recipe for sticky toffee pudding? I’d really like to make one this weekend and I never have.” HOW DID YOU DO THAT SO WEIRD BUT IT’S FATE.

  34. Patti

    What perfect timing! I moved out of Brooklyn (and NYC altogether) a couple years back. Moto being down the street from me was my go-to for guests and any other excuse I could wrangle to even just be near the smell of the glorious date cake at the next table. I don’t think I ever left that place without ordering one. My sister and I were chatting about this very thing not 2 days ago. Can’t wait to try your version!

  35. Audra

    *drool* need to make this our contribution to big, family Thanksgiving. I skimmed comments, but didn’t see any gluten-free flour sub questions yet. We have a distant relative who will be there that is GF- anyone have any input as to the way I should go to make this something she can partake of too?

  36. Johanna

    Just got back from a trip to the UK and only got sticky toffee pudding once! I usually order it every chance I get! So glad to see your post today so I can make my own and have several helpings. Thanks.

  37. Hello, this is pretty much the same as sticky toffee pud, which I bake not steam and then serve with the sauce on the side and ice cream…absolutely delicious. Not all puddings in the UK are steamed, some of the cake type ones are baked like this and pineapple upside down cake, jam sponge, chocolate sponge with chocolate custard…..xx

  38. I can already tell this is going to be my new favorite cake recipe without even trying it! I’m a huge lover of dates, and toffee sauce?! Looks divine!

    Sarah

  39. Em from Oz

    I started adding some finely chopped crystallized ginger to my sticky date cakes and suggest you give it a try, just a small amount (30 – 40g) goes a long way here and gives the cake another dimension. I also can’t help salting the butterscotch sauce.

  40. Annie

    This is definitely Stick Toffee Pudding and in most of the recipes that I’ve looked at, it’s baked, not steamed (though that’s probably it’s origin) and no tea. I use David Lebovitz’s recipe which (like any of his recipes) is swoon-worthy.

    From years of listening to BBC Food Programmes, ‘pudding’ in the UK means dessert in general.

    Haven’t made Stick Toffee Pudding in awhile (the husband has been on a low carb diet for the past year, and doing very well), but I have some dates drying out in the fridge right now and those looks luscious and wonderful…

  41. Lisa G

    Yay, Deb does sticky toffee pudding!!! Please change the title as date cake sounds like the dreadful dry stuff my mom used to make around Christmas and makes people fear the dates in it. This is gorgeous :) and sticky. And toffee-y. Best Brit sweet ever.
    (Also, Christmas pud is dire…just don’t tell my mother in law I said so)

  42. Being a native Brit, I can definitively say that this is a version of our very own Sticky Toffee Pudding …which originated in Cartmel in the gorgeous Lake District I believe. It’s not the recipe I use…mine has sauce on the bottom as well. Puddings are definitely not always steamed…in fact, many still call the dessert course ‘pudding’ here as in “what’s for pudding, Mum??!” Anyway, any version is utterly delicious and yours looks no exception, Deb!

  43. Erin

    I was first introduced to Sticky Toffee Pudding as a student in Scotland and life has never been the same. I make a recipe similar to this one all the time! Once you try it though, you WILL find yourself craving it all the time. Which is why I know that the cake freezes very well – and since it’s just a couple of minutes to make the sauce…

    This is the perfect dessert to keep on hand for last minute company because EVERYONE loves it!

  44. Leigh

    Same thought as others that sounds like sticky toffee pudding and I also make David Lebovitz’s version and he doesn’t steam his. We make it every Thanksgiving.

  45. Berto

    I have had desserts that paired dates with persimmons and loved them. Do you think a small amount of persimmon puree or chunks would make the cake too wet?

  46. This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it! One question though: do you whisk the toffee sauce while it simmers or do you take it off the heat and let it cool before whisking it?

  47. OK, really? I was just looking for my date cake with toffee sauce recipe YESTERDAY. When it wasn’t in my own recipe archives I checked your blog because I make so many recipes from it … searched on date cake and didn’t find what I was looking for. TODAY you published exactly what I was looking for. This is close enough to the recipe I used to make — and probably better. My husband will be so glad I “found” it. Did you read my mind?!?!

  48. Dates have never been that interesting to me, but your post has made me want to try this cake!

    Does it matter what kind of dates you use? Medjoul/medjool dates are definitely plumper but more expensive and never come pitted!

  49. deb

    Title — I changed it to Sticky Toffee Pudding. Thanks for the clarification!

    Pooja — I whisk the toffee sauce while it is cooking.

    Berto — I feel like it could work, though what I wish I’d done was measure the volume of the date-water puree so you know what you’re going for. It was definitely on the thin side, so you’ll probably want to add some water.

  50. Karen

    Hi there,
    This may seem an odd question but how firm is this cake? Is it like a snack cake or brownie or softer and squishier than that? I make little gingerbread houses out of gingerbread cake for the family kids at Christmas but because of dietary issues that recipe is out. I’m wondering if I could substitute this cake, which would miraculously not violate anyone’s dietary restrictions in the whole family (do you know how hard it is to find a recipe like that?! you have no idea how grateful I am!). The architecture isn’t complicated – I just cut out little squares and top them with cut out triangles of cake and then decorate a little to give the gingerbread house feel, an idea I got from King Arthur Flour. I’d just pass the sauce and the whipped cream at the table. Think it would work or is the cake too soft and it would be a mess? Thanks so much for this.

    1. deb

      Karen — On the soft side. You can definitely get a clean cut from it, the knife will not drag, but it’s not stiff by any measure. Is it dairy that’s an issue?

  51. erin

    not to be a stick in the mud here, but i would have left the title as it was. this is a cake that you cut into squares. if I’m not mistaken, and I’m hardly an expert, but traditional STP you scoop out of the vessel it was cooked in? regardless, it looks amazing!!!

  52. JP

    Just goes to show how different we all are. I could live on warm desserts. As a matter of fact, after serving a dessert the first time, warm from the oven, I nearly always warm it to serve next time in the microwave. My husband teases me because he knows I will always say: “I’d better warm that slightly”. The Sticky Toffee Pudding fits right down my alley. Thanks!

  53. Kirsten

    My grandma always made date cake at Thanksgiving or Christmas. It was very, very dry and I always tried to tip the balance of cake to Cool Whip in favor of the Cool Whip. I can’t wait to try this version – I miss her, but I do not miss that cake!

  54. Karen

    Deb – Thanks for responding and so quickly. The issues are nuts, dried fruits, a long list of holiday-type spices and flavorings too lengthy to go into and not dairy per se but too much richness is a problem for some of the more tummy sensitive. And NO CHOCOLATE, which is the one that really kills me. What makes this great is that the sauce and whipped cream can be passed on the side so those with issues can skip, or exercise moderation, and the others can enjoy.
    If I can get a clean cut from it, I’m guessing with a little finagling I should be able to make it work well enough. But the only way to know for sure is to do the experiment so I think that’s what I’ll do. Thanks so much for this recipe – if it works, it will solve a big holiday headache for me!

  55. Sorcha

    Sticky toffee pudding! I had already made this for dessert for Friday night dinner before I read your post but can I recommend adding a tablespoon of treacle to the sauce? It gives it an extra dark syrupy kick. You can easily make it dairy free by the way – I make the cake with margarine and the sauce with Rich’s parve whip and it’s still really good.

  56. Leslie

    Awesome!! I had a British person make this for me once, and I fell in love and have made it twice since. I have however lost the recipe, so I’m thrilled you posted one. She also poked holes in the cake and poured sauce on to bake another five minutes, and then of course served with more sauce. I agree this makes it more “pudding”, and therefore slightly more authentic. However, it just depends on what your preferred texture is, either way is delicious. This is a perfect holiday dessert, and I’ve served it twice before for Thanksgivings :).

  57. Jane

    My recipe for sticky date pudding with toffee sauce comes from Tasmania and is our favorite Christmas desert (leftover sauce+spoon+late night= bad news) but really I shouldn’t limit it so. Can’t wait to try this one.

  58. Puss N Boots

    Never one to detract from British Cooking I cannot tell a lie and must own up and say this desert is allegedly CANADIAN
    Google Felicity Cloake perfect sticky toffee pudding for details. Her usual exhaustive discussion of the finer points of the dish.

    A slick trick of St Delia is to make the puddings in individual metal moulds in advance of the dinner party and freeze the puddings – you can even freeze the sauce. It works ;as all Delia Smith recipes. Time and oven space saver around the holiday season.

  59. As someone else already pointed out, I had never imagined myself actually wanting to bake a date cake prior to reading your post. And it has already happened A LOT of times – I read the recipe’s title in my email feed, think “hmm this is not going to interest me”, then go to the post because you never know, there might be some gorgeous photos I’d hate missing, and ta-da, I’m hooked and saving the printable recipe in my to-do folder. You are THAT good, Deb <3

  60. Deb,

    Not all British puddings are steamed and this date cake is actually what we do call Sticky Toffee Pudding.

    Pudding is the British upper middle and upper class term for what others know as ‘dessert’ and describes a sweet course eaten after the main course but before cheese and biscuits. We also call things we eat FOR pudding, puddings but they don’t have to be steamed.

    Sticky Toffee Pudding was ;invented’ at Cartmel in the North of England and they now make and sell millions of their own recipe in stores all over the UK. Sold in foil trays, it is simply reheated in the oven for twenty or so minutes and is a great sub for when we cannot get to its birthplace.

  61. Maureen

    For a truly luscious treat, substitute maple sugar for the brown sugar in the topping. You will not be disappointed. Spooned warm over ice cream…butter pecan, anything with toffee bits, or even on your finger…wonderful. I love sticky toffee pudding. I like to spoon it into muffin or small loaf pans to give as little treats!
    Thanks for sharing this…Maureen

  62. Nanci

    I made it a quest to find the best Sticky Toffee Pudding when I was in England’s Lake District two years ago. I had it every day for two weeks to find the best. What a fun quest. I love this pudding ( which England uses as a term for our term for cake). I will try your recipe against mine and therefore another quest!

  63. BRedhook

    For my entire 62 years I well remember a cake from “church basement dinners” that is similar to this. I joke that I can’t sleep at night unless I have all the ingredients for “chocolate chip date cake” in the house.

    Instead of the toffee topping, “my” cake adds the pre-baking step of a mix of chocolate chips, chopped walnuts and white sugar sprinkled gently over the top of the unbaked cake. I’ve had the toffee topped cake you describe here and I found it way too sweet.

    “My” cake is also tasty without any topping. I make it in two round pans now instead of the 9X13 so that each piece has both edge and middle elements.

    Thank you, Helen, for introducing my family to “CCD Cake”.

  64. Bonnie

    I just hope you’re not the food blogger who was quite stern a few months ago about people who had issues with “texture.” Wait, I think it was the food blogger with the husband. Never mind.

  65. barbara

    My mother brings her famous date-nut bread to Thanksgiving every year. We love it — but this cake looks more fun (read: more fattening). One question: how does the cake freeze? Can I make it now (3 weeks before) and freeze it? (Oh please, say yes.)

  66. Linda

    I have been trying to perfect my Sticky Toffee pudding since falling in love with it on a trip to Scotland years ago. My husband is kind, but let’s me know that it is not quite as good. I have high hopes that this will be “the one!” Thanks so much!

  67. Matthew

    Good Morning – I’m hell-bent on making this cake for dessert for our family dinner tonight. However, there will only be 4 to 6 of us. I don’t think I’ll need to entire sauce tonight. Could I cut all the ingredients in half? Would it have the same taste and consistency?

    (Sorry if you already addressed this. I tried seeing if it’s in a previous comment, but you get so many!)

  68. Puss N Boots

    Dear Ms Miller
    Re The Canadian Pudding
    Have you read Simon Hopkinson’s article on STP IN the Gruniad from 2008? It’s linked from Felicity’s. I am not worthy to argue…

  69. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    This looks amazing – going to add it to our Thanksgiving menu right now. I love baked goods with dried fruit and especially dates, so this is win-win.

    Also, canNOT wait for the toffee sauce recipe made with coconut (comment #45). Yes please!

  70. roxlet

    I first started making sticky toffee pudding for Christmas dessert a dozen years ago or more after a trip to Ireland where we were served it for dessert one night. I begged them for the recipe, and the one thing that is slightly different from most versions I’ve seen–including yours–is that the dates are steeped in hot tea instead of hot water. It adds a very subtle and unique taste to the cake. Almost everyone I’ve ever made it for has begged me for the recipe, and it has procreated among my friends’ friends as well!

  71. Sticky Toffee Pudding, oh, be still my beating heart. I have been planning to make gingerbread with matcha creme anglaise, for an upcoming dinner party/blog post, but this may hijack my plans!!

  72. Susan P

    Sounds like a lovely cake! My favorite date loaf calls for the dates to be steeped in hot coffee – that might be tasty here, too…

  73. deb

    Courtney — I’d check it at 18 to 20 minutes.

    Matthew — Yes, it can be halved in an 8×8 or a 9-inch round. Or even an 8-inch round for a slightly thicker cake.

    Bonnie — I don’t think I’ve ever been stern with people who read this site, except for maybe in jest (you know, mock horror about people who do not wish to celebration National Pie For Breakfast day with me, the day after Thanksgiving).

    Nicola — Thanks for the clarification. I am eager to go back to the UK and continue my food studies. :)

  74. hilly jacklin

    No dates in my pantry but I have several quart jars of dried native persimmons that I think will substitute quite nicely for dates. I have used them as substitutes for dates when I made date bars, it worked out well, they were quite a hit at the potluck dinner.

  75. Lisa

    Sticky Toffee Pudding is heavenly! However, I agree with those who let some of the sauce soak in – that’s what makes it so perfectly “sticky”. Then, if you really want to take it over the top, find or make some “pourable custard” (yes, in Australia they sell this lovely concoction in the dairy section), and serve the warm cake/pudding with the pourable custard drizzled over everything. It’s probably the most wonderful dessert I’ve ever had! And if you don’t like dates, don’t fear – I couldn’t believe it was made with dates – it’s just indescribably delicious!

  76. Sarahb1313

    Love this cake, looking forward to trying your recipe. I have made David Lebovitz’s which doesn’t call for blending the dates.

    Yes, the sauce crystallizes when reheated, not fun. Should definitely be made at the last minute.

    And the Baking soda- it’s to add the alkalinity needed for the recipe, but you “deflate” the gas by mixing it into hot water first so as not to make the cake too puffy which wouldn’t be nice and dense as one wants for this kind of thing!!

  77. Eliz

    This is one of my all-time favorite desserts and I’m thrilled to get to try making it myself. Definitely on the menu for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. One of the local restaurants that makes it also tops it with chopped carmelized pecans and it just adds that extra texture that I love!

  78. caroline

    Sticky date pudding is my favorite cake of all time. I like it served with homemade creme fraiche :)

    This recipe is similar to the one I use, though I don’t ever puree the dates. I’ve struggled with sharing this cake with the world, vs. just keeping its amazingness to my smaller little circle. It’s the greatest.

  79. Hallie

    My favorite dessert of all time! From my favorite blog. Deb–you’re wonderful. So happy you’ve discovered the joy of sticky toffee pudding. I still beg my mom to make it every time I go home for the holidays. xx

    (P.S. I’ve been sneaking leftover sticky toffee pudding at midnight my whole life. For easiest reheat, warm the sauce with a little heavy cream on low in the microwave.)

  80. Mary B.

    Sticky Toffee Pudding was one of our favorite things about our visit to Canada – other than the Canadian Rockies, of course. :) Absolutely heavenly.

  81. Leslie

    As soon as I saw this, with the original title, I thought, “Yay, Deb is doing sticky toffee pudding — my favorite British dessert!” I’m married to a Scot, and I get this every time we travel to visit his family. It’s not steamed, it’s not scooped– this looks like it! The recipes I’ve collected over there all have to be converted, so I’m happy to see this. Thanks!

  82. Ann

    Hi Deb! Speaking of dates, I was wondering the other night (as I was frantically trying to put together a dinner menu to impress a boy) if you would consider a “date night” tag / category for your menus! For instance, things that look impressive but are easy to prep, foods that won’t leave you smelly (breath from consuming or cooking oil-wise), etc.? For us sad single people out there, haha. He loved your honey apple cake, btw, thank you!!

  83. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    Deb – I noticed that there’s a slightly darker look to the bottom 1/3 of the cake. Is that the date mixture settling out or the bottom cooking differently than the top? Does it have a different texture? Either way, I love the layered look and am so looking forward to the weekend when I have time to make this.

  84. Debbi

    Deb,
    This looks so good! Laughing so hard at your comment, BRedhook! CCD cake! Took me back 50 years!
    Can’t wait to make this!

  85. deb

    Ann — Great idea! I’ll start thinking about what to put in it.

    Wife to an Amazing Cook — It might have been me. I thought it made more sense to mix in the flour in the last step and ended up with a very lumpy batter, hence the uneven appearance. This recipe defaults to the more logical, less lump-prone way the recipe was written.

    Kelly — I am not sure that there’s enough batter to nicely fill out a bundt. Perhaps 1.5x the recipe?

  86. Annalisa

    As an American recently moved to England, I’m so glad you’re opened the discussion up for a definition of “pudding!” (and thanks for the Brits who’ve commented!) While it does seem to roughly mean dessert, they also don’t seem to be exact equivalents. For example, while no one would necessarily turn down a slice of cake after a meal, I get the feeling it’s technically inappropriate–cake (by which is usually meant a layered sponge affair) is meant to be had with tea and coffee or at a celebration. And I’ve never been served anything for “pudding” that is cold–so no cookies/brownies, etc. Well, pavlova might be an exception to that… But on the whole it seems that a “pudding” must be warm, eaten with a spoon (not a fork) and have some type of liquid-y component whether a sauce or oozy factor. And, yes, served with custard (or ice cream if served in the summer or by a host under 55). I’d love to hear any correction or clarification any Brits have to offer–I’ve been on this quest to understand the nomenclature and categorisation of sweet things for over a year now!;)

  87. Susan

    Nevermind my question. I just looked up your Easy Butterscotch sauce. This is almost exactly half of that recipe so, I realize that it does keep.

  88. I’ll be the first to admit that, with the exception of ice cream, I prefer my desserts warm always, always, always. But I still think we’d be friends. This cake is one of my favs.

  89. Melanie

    The only reason my husband stays with me is because I make him sticky toffee pudding once a year. Seeing it on your site brought a smile to my face. I make a version that was referred to earlier–the poking holes and letting half the sauce soak in version. Will try it with sea salt in future.

  90. I am a big fan of date cakes. I made your Date Spice Loaf the other day, it was yum and was great as a morning snack with a cup of tea for days. My go to date recipe is a Date and Walnut loaf, it is deliciously moist and great with a slathering of butter, and all mixed up by hand in one saucepan! I have put the recipe here
    http://sharacooks.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/date-and-walnut-loaf.html
    And my favourite date dessert is a hot date cake with Caramel Sauce, a slightly different take on your pudding:
    http://sharacooks.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/hot-date-cake-with-caramel-sauce.html

  91. DeAnn

    Day off + “hey I have all these ingredients!” = HOLY CRAP THIS IS FN DELICIOUS!! I thank you, my husband thanks you, my children thank you. Per your suggestion, I halved it. Baked in an 8×8. Came out perfect. Good thing I did too, I could have easily eaten my weight, truly fantastic.

  92. Melanie

    Looks amazing, will definitely try! I have attempted to make sticky toffee pudding from a few different recipes, but it often comes out dry, so I think either my technique or or my recipe has been lacking. Question–If I tried to make these in individual ramekins, do you think it would translate okay, or would I have to do more than just reduce the time?

    Thank you!

  93. Adrienne

    Deb, would this be something that would be good served cold the next day? I have a potluck to cook for and was hoping this would be something yummy and different to bring. =)

  94. We make a version of this. When the cake is pulled out of the oven poke holes all over it with a chopstick, pour over half the caramel sauce, then pop it under the broiler for just a few minutes until the top starts to bubble and caramelize. Then just serve it in big squares with additional sauce and whipped cream. Sigh.

  95. Jeannine

    I had my first cake like this in Australia. There it’s called “sticky date pudding”. My then Australian boyfriend/now husband ordered it and I thought it sounded horrible. I tried one bite and he then had to fight for the rest. I’ve since made it for him and he’s always a happy camper. I think I will take to calling it Sticky Toffee Pudding instead so as not to scare off the locals(U.S. that is).

  96. Amy

    I used to get sticky toffee pudding at dessert happy hour at a restaurant in Boulder called The Kitchen. During happy hour the desserts were something like half off…perfect for a 4:00 pm snack! The sticky toffee pudding used to be served in square slices, and then someone made the ridiculous decision that they’d look better served as round pieces of cake, like, cut out with a tall round cookie cutter. The diameter of the round piece was about the same size as the length of a side of the old square pieces. All I could picture was a pile of the cake corners getting tossed into the trash after the circular pieces were cut from the squares. Tragic.

  97. Jen

    Sticky Toffee Pudding! My husband’s favorite–he’s a born Brit. They serve it with custard sauce across the pond, so while the cake is quite simple to pull together, I dread making the creme Anglaise that is “required” in this household.

    “Puddings” in Great Britain are desserts. So cakes, steamed puddings, etc. all come under the heading of “Puddings” on a menu. I figured this was a holdover from Deb’s trip to the UK!

    Not sure if it’s been answered above, but the reason for the baking soda in date recipes is that it helps break down the fibers, so the dates incorporate better into the cake.

  98. Luna

    I made this tonight and used a bundt pan. It turned out shorter than normal bundt recipes, but worked well and looks nice. It took about 45 min to bake.

    I cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup in the cake, which is sweet enough for us, especially with the butterscotch sauce, and I used whole wheat pastry flour. My husband and I each had two pieces. It’s excellent.

  99. WOW… I used to live on Hooper street right near Moto and forgot until this post how their date cake is probably my most favorite (and unassuming) dessert in the world!! Thank you so much for posting! I can’t wait to make it at home.

  100. Luna

    Oh also – the dates I get come in an 8 oz box (pitted) and I only had 1 box in the house so I added 4 oz of pitted and diced prunes. I used 2 C of water, soaked the dates for 20 min, and then added the prunes for the final 10 min and blended it all together. It worked well and the date flavor is still predominant.

  101. Michelle

    Funny… I read the intro to the post and thought, “Never craved date cake? Wait… maybe she’s never been to Moto?” This post brought back very specific memories of one fall when I had SEVERAL conversations about that cafe’s date cake, all of which involved swoons. Thanks for bringing this recipe front and center!

  102. Laura

    I love date cakes. I ask my mom for a queen Elizabeth cake almost every year for my birthday. This cake may be my next request. On a side note, I just wanted to say I really like your salt/ sweet ratios in your desserts.

  103. Vilde

    Hi, I just put the cake in the oven, but I am a little worried since the batter was really runny (like runny pancake batter). Is it supposed to be like that? I used the metric measures. Hope it turnes out the right way!

  104. Vilde

    The cake actually was a disaster (as suspected from the runny batter). Are you sure the measures in the recipie is correct? I’ve doublechecked that I did it correct. And is the date soaking water really to be added to the batter? I am confused about this recipie!

  105. Barb

    I plan to make this soon and actually have a 10 x 10 pan. What is the baking time for the original recipe? I know it will take longer but would appreciate knowing the recommended time. Thanks for your amazing site which continues to inspire home cooks around the world!

  106. Juliet

    Deb, if you like this, you should try a similar but even better South African dessert – malva pudding. It’s not pudding in the American sense – it is a delicious, moist hot sponge that is sublime served with custard!

  107. CrysL

    I like to add grated fresh ginger to my sticky date pudding. It adds a nice bite and helps balance the sweetness of the toffee sauce. Give it a try. A tablespoon or so, fresh not dried

  108. Did not have the courage of my convictions on the mint. Did use dark brown sugar in the sauce. Yum. Lucked out not looking closely at the photos of the dates, but got the correct thing anyway. (Apparently dates are always dried, and sometimes you can get them really REALLY dry, p.s. Dates pitted, stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in arugula and the brasaola and then baked for 12 minutes for the other end of the party)

    This was a big hit. Thank you!!

  109. katie

    they serve this at an excellent italian restaurant in astoria called vesta, only they call it “baby jesus cake.” the legend goes that upon someone’s (i forget who) first taste of this cake/pudding/whatever, they exclaimed “sweet baby jesus” because of how delicious it is.

  110. Beverly

    As an American who lived many years in the UK, have made this a lot. Now replaces Christmas Pudding at our house. Much easier and a big crowd pleaser. Have long used Gary Rhodes’s recipe. Will do a careful comparison, but Deb’s recipes are ALWAYS on target. Can say that this bakes up extremely well in a medium size charlotte/souffle pan and turns out looking very festive. You can even, if you wish, flame it before serving.

  111. Alice

    Deb, do you think you could omit the sugar from the cake entirely? It seems the dates would be sweet enough to carry it. Or do you need the sugar for chemistry’s sake? Thanks.

  112. Justine

    The timing of this post was perfect in that it saved me from having to translate the British recipe I was planning to make into American measurements, and you brilliantly made it in a 9×13 instead of a bunch of little ramekins. Mine definitely needed 30 min in the oven and came out absolutely delicious… I may personally eat half the pan tonight.

  113. Barb

    I have to say that the whipped cream really didn’t do it for me. I found a nice cold glass of milk to go better than whipped cream melting on the plate. The cake itself and butterscotch are definitely winners. This cake also expanded my 5 year old granddaughter’s vocabulary. She now knows the British definition for “pudding.”

  114. Living in the UK for over two years, this has become one of my favorite desserts when dining out. Been wanting to try at home, so will definitely give this a go!

  115. This looks really similar to my favorite sticky toffee pudding recipe. I think the main difference would be that in a Sticky Toffee pudding recipe you typically allow the sauce to soak into the cake part a bit by poking holes in it. But maybe I’m wrong about that. Either way, I’m sure I’ll love this recipe (like all your other recipes). Also, would you be able to provide metric measurements please?

  116. Lauren

    I made this cake this weekend and it was a huge hit at a family party – thanks! One note, my batter was VERY thin and watery- like thin pancake batter- so I added a good amount of flour before pouring it into the pan, like an additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup flour. I’m in Denver, so maybe I needed a thicker batter for high altitude cooking??

  117. deb

    Alice — I was very tempted to find out, but it will throw off the moisture. If you’re going this route, I might bump the dates up to 1 pound so there’s more sweet oomph from them. And personally, I might drop the sugar to a couple tablespoons before omitting it entirely. Would love to hear how it goes.

    Barb — It was noted as 50 to 60 minutes, but honestly, this seems very high to me, given that a 9×13 will only make a slightly thinner cake and mine was absolutely done by 27 minutes. I’d check beginning at 30 to 35, if I were you.

    Vilde — I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out. Can you tell me what happened? I only know that it was a disaster. The water goes in because you’re blending it with the dates to make the puree.

    Runny batter — But this, as noted by a couple commenters, was my experience too but it baked up just fine. As I mentioned in my comment to Alice, above, I was very tempted to make this with a full pound of dates for a thicker puree, plus most of the other date cakes I looked at for reference used 1 pound dates. I will try it this way next time, but for the purposes of this cake the way I fell in love with it at the party, this is exactly what it tasted and looked like.

    Adrienne — The cake would be good cold the next day, but the sauce needs to be warmed and re-whisked to be served. It will be solid and a little separated from the fridge.

    Melanie — I think baked in ramekins would be cute. Just butter them well to be safe.

    Susan — Yes, as you figured out. Just rewarm and re-whisk to get it loose and pourable again.

    Tina — The metric measurements should be showing. Is there one missing that you need?

  118. Vilde

    Deb – the cake baken for 45 mins and didnt finish, it vas all gluey when I cut in to it afterwards. We made another go for it straight away and that time we left our the soaking water. The result was better but still rawish (like sticky brownie), it didnt resemble the look of your cake from the pics in the blog. But the taste was heavenly!! And the sauce, OMG

  119. Hillary

    I just baked this cake and made a thin sauce out of maple syrup, light cream, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and powdered sugar to pour over top and pair with a local Ginger Ice Cream. The question IS, can I wait until after dinner??!! The cake looks so moist and lovely. Gave me a chance to use the big bag of pitted dates in my pantry.

    Up next is your yummy white fish spread.

    HR

  120. Hannah

    Regarding the new Pinterest boards, names and all: DEB, I LOVE YOU. I had just been thinking that I needed exactly what you created: neat little boards with pretty photos showing me all of my Smitten Kitchen choices for the holidays. I pretty much only cook from smittenkitchen.com and the Smitten Kitchen cookbook that sits (spotted with cooking splatters) in arm’s reach of my tiny, humble kitchen. This summer I got very into Pinterest. 500+ pins on my food board later, I finally gave up cooking Anything On Pinterest except Things Derived From Smitten Kitchen after arriving at a few too many dinner parties with Something That Looked Great But Tasted Like Cardboard. In Smitten Kitchen I Trust. Thanks so much for the new boards.

  121. Julianna

    This gives me a pang of nostalgia for a restaurant here in Buffalo that recently closed… Their signature dessert was sticky toffee pudding, a huge serving with a ton of sauce. Glad to know I could make it at home if I needed to :)

  122. barbara lassiter

    This reminds me of the cake my Mother used to make many years ago. It was called Queen Elizabeth Cake(reputedly the only one she ever baked). It was baked in a Bundt pan and made a small cake. The topping appears to be the same one and was poured over the cake. It was yummy and I still bake it occasionally. I will try your cake. I love date nut cake and date nut bread!

  123. Krista

    Ahhh, so delicious! The recipe I’ve been using is almost identical to Deb’s – it calls for a touch more flour and 2 cups of chopped pitted dates. I make it dairy free, and sometimes GF too, and it works out fine. I cook it in muffin tins, this way the portions are equal so there is no fighting or pouting :-)
    Coconut milk dulce de leche (aka caramel sauce) is my go-to dairy free sauce option.

  124. Annalisa-

    We often serve cake for pudding and cold puddings such as Eton Mess, Pavlova, syllabub and posset- they are referred to as pudding. It is definitely a class thing though. If you referred to ‘pudding’ as ‘dessert’ in an upper class or upper middle class household, they’d have a conniption.

    Dessert is definitely a restaurant term too although places like St John may call it pudding.

  125. nan

    Welcome to the Sticky Date Pudding Cake World! My Aussie friend gave me her mom’s recipe years ago and it’s my “go-to” dessert. I’ve tinkered with it over the years and now make it into a layer cake…it’s probably the best dessert I’ve ever made and as long as I call it Sticky Pudding Cake and leave out the Date, it’s my son’s and daughter’s favorite, too!

  126. Tucker

    I just made this. The house smells amazing! I loved reading all the comments about the origin and history of this recipe. My Thanksgiving and Christmas menus are complete, so it will have to do for a bible study dessert. I blended the dates in my Blendtec Blender on the soup setting, and the date puree came out perfect. It cooked for 26 minutes.

  127. ila

    I ve made date cake with foodprocessor-chopped fresh medjool dates (not soaked), more rustic. Baking powder, eggs, etc. Your icing is an inspiration; thank you!!!

  128. If you are using fresh dates (the are really moist Jordanian dates), do you still need to combine with 2 1/4 cups boiling water? Or can you use 3/4 pound fresh dates and puree until smooth? Thanks Deb.

    1. deb

      Farmer Freed — Sadly, I don’t know the moisture difference between dried and fresh dates, so I cannot say. I mean, I know you wouldn’t need all of it, but you’d probably still need some. I guess the safest bet would be to puree the dates with a little water and baking soda, and then add what you need to get to a generous 2.25 cups liquid. Hope that helps.

  129. Kathy

    Thanks for the links for the other side of the world. I’m in Santiago, Chile and we are in Spring right now. This makes finding recipes for our seasons much easier! Thank you!

  130. So excited! I’m pretty certain that this cake, with the addition of judicious amounts of fresh and crystallized ginger, will be very much like a cake we ate and loved at a pub ( The Old Triangle ) for years in Halifax! It was also served with a similar sauce and cream…..thanks so much Deb! I’ve been craving it these six years (we don’t live there anymore…) but it never occurred to me to begin with a date base!

  131. I’m so glad you’ve been brought over to the dark side of date cake. Unfortunately you will now crave it anytime you hear about dates or the holidays, or..I don’t know, things relating to England (it’s big there). Being a huge fan myself, I will now be making this asap, so thank you!

  132. Claire Maunsell

    OK. Made it with the addition of 3 teaspoons of finely grated fresh ginger, 40 gms of finely chopped crystallized ginger and 1 teaspoon of really fresh dry ginger. It looked exactly like yours ( your instructions are always so accurate and clear) Family had to be restrained from having 3 helpings of this cake each, and my son made the comment that the cake was fabulous and the sauce was really ‘liquid fudge’. The unsweetened whipped cream is the final perfect touch…
    Now I will try it without the ginger, and am sure it is just as perfectly delicious! Thank you again!

  133. My family first tried Sticky Toffee Pudding at Rules in London (once in a lifetime thing). I tried making it when we got back home to Virginia, but it didn’t have the same umpf. I’m definitely going to try your recipe this Christmas because we all get a misty-eyed look when we remember that pudding in England. Thanks!

  134. Jillian F

    This month’s Saveur has a version of this, I love yours, but one thing the other recipe has that I was really impressed with was lemon juice in the toffee sauce, it was incredible. It’s adapted from Rose Beranbaum, so not surprised it was great, but it was just a small addition that made a huge difference, I would totally recommend!!

  135. Steph

    Just tried this tonight and it was STUNNING. I was a little worried from the pretty simple ingredients that it would be bland, but it came out moist, subtly fruity and the toffee topping was insanely good. This is going straight on our list for Christmas dessert!

  136. Amy

    Whew, was this GOOD, GOOD, GOOD! I was kind of worried because the batter was so thin, but other than it taking longer to bake than the recipe called for it was perfect. And that sauce! Amazing. I did use dark brown sugar so mine was nearly coffee-colored.
    I cut it into squares and pre-sauced it so I could take it to work the next day, and I came so close to just eating half of the sauce right out of the pan. Decadent, simple, comforting, and delicious – it ticks all my boxes!

  137. Kim Irene

    Made this and love it. Baked in glass 9×13 for the 30 minutes. Perfect–I also added 1/2 t cardamom and 1 tsp vanilla. Going to try it next with all the gingerbread spices. I even thing swapping some dark chocolate (3 oz) with 3 oz of the melted butter would be nice.

  138. Katherine Kolind

    I made this today for Thanksgiving at work and people raved. I actually have a 10×10 pan that I never get to use, so I used it. Baking time was 25 minutes for me. I added a handful sea salt and a swirl of molasses to the sauce….it was ah-may-zing. It tastes like it took hours and lots of fancy tricks. It’s like the rice krispie commercial from the 80’s where the mom tosses flour on her face and walks out looking like she slaved all day, then giggles about it behind everyone’s back. I love desserts like this that are so incredibly decadent and perfect but take so little effort!

  139. Pru

    I know others have asked but I haven’t spotted the answer if you’ve got to it already: Can the cake be made ahead? I know sauce and whipped cream should be done just before serving. And if it can be made ahead, should it be refrigerated or left out (and covered)? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Pru — I think the cake is good at room temperature for a couple days, more than that, I’d put it in the fridge. I think it would be a hit at Thanksgiving.

  140. Dahlink

    I was having One of Those Weeks. I made the cake on Thursday for a small party Saturday, halving the recipe–except that I forgot to halve the butter. Duh. I was dubious, but decided to go ahead and bake it, and it turned out just fine. More than fine, actually. The cake kept well at room temperature for two days. I heated up the sauce and transported it in a small thermos, and that also worked out well.

  141. Stephanie

    I’m wondering, could you add the sauce to the cake ahead of time? I’m thinking of taking this to a family gathering. Do you think it would hold up if I sauced it right before leaving the house and ate it right after dinner?

    1. deb

      Stephanie — My concern would be it hardening up; it’s usually either poured over when the cake is still warm from the oven, or done as I show here, cooked and poured over semi-cooled slices to serve. I suppose if you did it while still warm from the oven and wrapped it tightly in foil, it would be most likely to stay loose but I still think the best bet is just borrowing your friend’s stove for 5 to 10 minutes after dinner and making the sauce fresh. This is what the recipe’s author had done at at dinner party I attended.

  142. Katherine Kolind

    I let the cake cool slightly, then poked holes in the top, and poured half of the sauce over it. I was nervous about it, so I consulted my sister. She lived in Europe for years and this is her favorite dessert. She confirmed that it was always served with the toffee soaked into the cake across the pond. I was too scared to do the whole thing of the sauce, but half was perfect. It gives you the pudding texture and still a warm toffee topping. I made another half of the sauce recipe for drizzling so it was pretty when cut. This reheated just fine also.
    As long as it’s the same day and you’re not going to refrigerate it, it should work fine. A pudding is traditionally gooey. Pouring the sauce over a dry cake is a North American take on it. Serving the leftovers was easy too. I just popped the whole pan in the oven until it bubbled. Sugars didn’t crystalize or anything for me.

  143. Katherine Kolind

    I just re-read and realized I’m not being very clear. I poured half the sauce over the poked cake after cooling for about 10 minutes. I had the other half in a container, and poured that over before it was cut. The extra half recipe I made was used for drizzling so it looked extra pretty on the plate when it was served. It definitely tastes best warm, so if you have access to an oven I would still heat it. Hot toffee is a magical thing.

  144. David

    My go to desert for the holidays has always been cranberry pudding with hard sauce but this is delicious too!
    Can you tell me: when do you know the caramel sauce has really reached its best state?
    Color? texture?

  145. Jenn

    oh my goodness…I made this for thanksgiving yesterday, and everyone raved about it so much that I had to come back and say THANK YOU for this amazing recipe! It was a huge hit!! The only thing that I did differently is that I poured the butterscotch sauce on top of the cake ~10 minutes after it came out of the oven, because we were not hosting thanksgiving and had to bring the dessert with us to a friend’s house, and I wasn’t sure that I would have the opportunity to heat up the toffee at serving time. Happy news – it is still pretty darn delicious that way!! Now I have requests to make it again at Christmas!

  146. Elizabeth

    Just wanted to say a huge thank you for sharing yet another recipe that was a huge hit for me and my family. The sprinkling of sea salt at the end was perfection.

  147. Michaella

    I’ve been dying to make sticky toffee pudding ever since Haagen-Dazs discontinued the sticky toffee pudding. I made this for Thanksgiving and this recipe is absolute perfection. One of the best things I’ve tasted!

  148. Jules

    I made this for thanksgiving along with a few pies and it was ah-maz-ing. I used all the same ingredients but I baked it in a 10 inch round pan within a water bath to mimic the steamed effect of the traditional pudding. The caramel was the best part. After we finished the cake, we drizzled the left over caramel over vanilla ice cream with walnuts- yum. I loved the cake the way it is but I might add a couple of spices next time for a more fall flavor.

  149. Bernadette

    Deb!
    My GOD!! I made this cake the day before last and got to try it last night with my family. AMAZING! My husband who usually only likes chocolate loved it! I think we heard angels sing! Thank you for this lovely cake!! All your stuff is amazing (I’ve been using your recipes for a few years), this is going in our family recipe book! *DELICOUS* one of the best cakes I’ve baked <3 <3

  150. Mallory

    SUCH a hit at Thanksgiving. I had a table full of silent eaters, enjoying every morsel. The sauce did not work for me the first go-round; however, both the butter and the brown sugar may have been past their prime. (I was cooking at Mom’s, and they don’t normally eat butter or sugar….the stuff I was working with was probably OLD.) Anyway, new butter and new LIGHT brown sugar, and bam, the sauce came together!

  151. Limes

    Made this tonight in a 9×13, and it definitely took 45-50 minutes to cook. I wonder if my dates had a lot of moisture? It finally did bake through and was absolutely delicious. I’d definitely make again!

  152. Alyson

    Deb-if you liked this and are still looking for persimmon starter recipes you should check out the Saveur persimmon pudding recipe. Uses buttermilk!

  153. Marie-Eve

    This is so good. I just regret I only made a half recipe. To 35 min to cook in a 9×9. Added about 1/3 cup of six grains flour mix.

  154. Cameron

    I have made this three times over the holidays. The first two times it was inhaled. People seem to love it. The third time I left it in a work room here at school and the pan was returned to me washed and cleaned and nary a scrap of cake remained.

    I added a bit of whiskey to the sauce but didn’t notice a difference. If I add more, should I change any other ingredient?

  155. Lindsay

    Looks delicious! Do you know how long I should bake it for if I divide the batter between 8 le creuset “mini round cocottes”? Want to do this for friends this weekend!

    1. deb

      Linsday — It would be hard to guess because the depth will probably be different, plus the baking material. As a rough idea, cupcakes usually take 15 minutes. Yours might take a bit longer.

  156. So far this looks amazing! I so appreciate the photos along the way. Cake is made, it smells devine. One little hitch, I am making it gluten free! I will post back and let you know if it works at all. On to the next steps. Thank you

  157. Sue

    This question is a last-minute hail mary as I am trying to make this cake now, but here goes – I was trying to halve the cake, but I accidentally put in the normal amount of baking soda. Does anyone know if that will mess with the cake?

  158. Megan

    This was a great Christmas Eve dessert. I baked and froze it in the sheet pan. Defrosted a week later and used a big star cookie cutter to make pretty individual portions (kind of a pain but it looked good), then topped with the sauce and the unsweetened whipped cream–the sauce is so sweet it really needs the whipped cream, it was great. I’m still kicking myself for forgetting to sprinkle it with the pretty pink sea salt I bought just for the occasion, but it got rave reviews!

  159. Christine

    I recently got back from a week in London (don’t be too jealous, as I was helping chaperon 100 high school marching band students as they participated in the London New Year’s Day Parade. But I digress.) I was introduced to the joys of sticky toffee pudding at a fabulous steakhouse in Covent Garden. Of course, I had to try to recreate it. My search landed me here. I made this recipe this past Saturday, with the addition of a tablespoon of molasses in the cake (to make it more like the one I had in London). Used all dark brown sugar in the sauce. Oh. My. GOD!!! Unbelievably good. Both daughters asked if they could have a piece for breakfast the next morning. To which I mentally shrugged and told them, “Why not?” figuring that it’s not much worse for them than pancakes with syrup. Went for straight heavy cream (just a splash) instead of the whipped cream, but I really want top it with a dollop of Cornish clotted cream, to put it over the top.

  160. I made this for a Robert Burns supper last night, and it was amazing. I added 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger to the batter, which really complemented the other flavors. And I agree that unsweetened whipped cream should not be skipped!

  161. emily

    As a British expat now living elsewhere in Europe, I had to make this, as my only other sticky toffee pudding source is a British food stand in a seasonal market – that is not open this season, sniffle. I’ve tried it twice, both times delicious, but both times I feel like it’s too fluffy and cake-like as opposed to dense and pudding-y, the way it should be. Any tips for thickening it up? Thank you, and I love your website (have done so since it began, having followed you over from the not-a-kitchen smitten days!).

  162. Jeannie Rodman

    Love this stuff, and English puddings in general. You can save a bit of hard-earned dollars by using date pieces, which are available for about a dollar a lb. less than hole ones, and already chopped! Gotta love that! Now, on to the Spotted Dick (I kid you not….)

  163. Sp

    Hi Deb
    I have tried your sunken apple cake and blueberry muffin.
    It turned out to be great.
    But unfortunately the dates cakes is not In a good shape.
    I missed out the step where you soak dates in hot water and baking soda,
    I mixed baking soda later and my cake has turned out gewy inside.

  164. Antoinette

    Maddie, I made this last night with date paste (heated it up with water) and it was an INSANE hit among my friends! It was a bit of guesswork as to how much paste to use and I cut down on the sugar but it tastes pretty much like all of my best memories of Moto’s date cake.

  165. Kathryn

    I made half the quantity & it fitted perfectly into a 7″ round tin. I soaked the dates in tea with baking soda – it’s what my grandma always did & replaced some of the sugar with treacle (imported & hoarded). As an expat Brit living in Austria I feel the need every so often to make something homey (& widen my hubby’s horizons). I let the sauce soak in though – it wouldn’t seem right otherwise – & served with yoghurt to create contrast. Yum!

  166. Kris

    Made this this past weekend for a big dinner and it was amazing – I followed the recipe as written as it was the first time I’ve ever made sticky toffee pudding. Served it when the cake was fully cooled with the warm sauce poured over top…honestly everyone loved it. It is so easy, feeds a crowd, and as someone who bakes relatively often, all I had to buy to make it were the dates and the heavy cream – all the other ingredients are things that most home bakers/cooks would already have in the pantry!

  167. Dan

    Great recipe to try out! I live in Dubai and there is such a great choice of tasty dates to get on the market, but I never knew what to do with them besides just eating them. well, now I know :) thank you for posting!

  168. Hun

    Thanks for making me look like a rockstar at a casual neighborhood dinner party. I made the recipe exactly and baked in a 8.5 x 11.5 pan, which took nearly 50 minutes to bake. Worried after 30 minutes, I turned on the convection oven to speed things up. All was well when this beauty came out of the oven. It was well received and agree, don’t forget the whipped cream! One note on the sauce, I recommend making it before serving (it goes fast – I promise) as mine got gritty as it cooled, but no one complained because it was so delish!

  169. Chithra

    Can I make the cake christmas eve and then make the sauce on xmas just before serving? (and warm the cake in the oven slightly?) If I can make the cake ahead of time, it will free me up!

  170. Shona

    Dear Deb
    I am a long time admirer of your blog/writing and recipes and today I made this for my dads 71st birthday. He declared it not just good but superb.
    I loved it too!
    We have one left to freeze and eat later and some left over for Christmas dinner!
    Thank you from Scotland and happy holidays X
    Shona

  171. Beth G

    I made this for Christmas Day dessert and everyone FREAKED OUT! Declared it the best dessert ever. Children and adults alike. I was a hero! Of course I gave you most of the credit. You are a beacon of hope for this transplanted Jewish girl in Salt Lake City, UT. You are well known and loved here by the way. I mentioned that I was going to try making this for Christmas to a friend and she said “I heard there is a great recipe on “Smitten Kitchen” so there ya go…. Thanks for the help over the holidays. You are my go-to for cookies too (chocolate toffee and also the pecan sandies – I made tons for friends) and just everything. And Happy Chanukah!

  172. Pam

    Made this for Christmas dinner and many declared it the most delicious thing they’ve ever tasted… And this was in competition with roasted pork loin!

    Thanks, Deb. You never let me down!! But, really. You haven’t. Ever.

  173. Sheila

    I hate to be Bah humbug but this was not good. The sauce was great but the cake was flavorless. Maybe a tad more salt. It’s just not like the British STP. Maybe I did something wrong. No one ate it except for 3 pieces. Through the rest out. Kept the sauce!

  174. Liz B.

    I’ve used this recipe for the cake and sauce part, but followed Jamie Oliver’s instructions (from Comfort Food) to soak 1 lb. of dates in strong earl grey tea with cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg (along with the baking soda) for 10 minutes, rather than plain water. I just soaked everything right in the blender before blitzing to make the puree, and followed SK’s instructions for cake and sauce – super easy. The flavor was incredible, with rave reviews! I also poked tiny holes all over the cake with a toothpick and then poured the sauce directly on top of the whole thing, to help it soak in and make serving easier for a large group. Highly recommend.

  175. Karen

    This is delicious! And it makes great leftovers. We’ve made several recipes from your website and book, and they have all been excellent, especially the baked goods. Thank you!

  176. G

    Could I half this recipe and make it in a bundtlette /mini bundt pan? I’m hoping to make 6 individual servings. What would the baking time be like? Love your website and book!

  177. Nancy

    Having just come back from a quick business trip to the UK, where I splurged on sticky toffee pudding after both dinners I was there for, I can’t wait to try making this at home! In both restaurants, it was served as an individual small cake, about 3″ in diameter with a flattenedomed shape, infused with syrup (vs having it poured over the top) and a small bit of vanilla ice cream. To die for – as I know this recipe will be too!

  178. Dinah

    I discovered this dessert three years ago in England, where it’s most often found on pub menus, and subsequently ordered it at every opportunity in my following two visits. Your recipe is right on track. It was always served warm. The only variations I saw in the UK were the garnish: ice cream, whipped cream, heavy cream, etc. All are fine–for me, it’s that sauce…just love it.
    What I’d like to ask you, though, is whether you can adapt it to a gluten-free version? Any thoughts there?

  179. deb

    Dinah — Nobody has responded yet as to how they adapted it, only that they might, but I think you’ll probably be okay here with a gluten-free baking flour mix.

  180. Megan

    I was so excited to try this recipe, having just returned from a trip to Scotland where I ate sticky toffee pudding at every possible opportunity. I knew a Smitten Kitchen recipe would never fail me, but i was heartbroken to try this recipe and result in a complete disaster! The cake never baked all the way through, I took it out of the oven after 40 minutes (toothpick inserted never really came out clean) and it completely shrank away from the sides of the pan and deflated. The texture was totally mushy and not at all cake-like. I’m not sure what I did wrong, any ideas? Maybe my baking soda was too old? I need to master this recipe! Thank you for any advice.