Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake is a deliciously moist, date cake drenched in a warm butterscotch-toffee sauce. It's a classic and iconic British dessert popular in Scotland, England, and Ireland.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake with toffee being poured out of a bottle onto the towering food

This classic British dessert is so good that when I made it for my mom she declared that it was her favorite thing I have ever made. It's rich, complex flavors and moist texture makes it a decadent dessert that is hard to beat.

If you have ever been to the Leaky Cauldron or the Three Broomsticks in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you might have seen this dessert listed on the menu or tried the sticky toffee pudding ice cream at Florian Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley.

When it comes to Harry Potter desserts, or authentic Irish dessert ideas for St. Patrick's Day, this Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake is my favorite! It's also perfect as an easy Christmas pudding if you want to celebrate Christmas in Victorian fashion!

What is sticky toffee pudding?

Sticky toffee pudding is a classic British dessert made with chopped dates and drenched in a homemade warm toffee sauce. The best sticky toffee pudding should be moist and sticky with a date sponge cake that is covered with rich toffee sauce.

In case you are confused, a "pudding" in Britain or the UK usually just means a cake or dessert, not a custard like most Americans think of when they hear the word pudding.

There are a lot of different approaches to making this moist, rich, sticky dessert. Some puddings are steamed, some contain treacle or golden syrup in the sauce, others have it in the cake itself, other versions include molasses, some call for white sugar, some for brown, nuts or no nuts, etc. and so forth!

My sticky toffee pudding recipe uses only ingredients that are readily available in the U.S.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

If you are looking for the perfect dessert to serve on St. Patrick's Day, one that you might find in Ireland and not just something dyed green with food coloring, Sticky Toffee Pudding is delicious and the way to go!

pouring white drizzle over sticky toffee pudding

You can bake the date cakes in individual ramekins, muffin tins, or even mugs, if you like. I have a couple of mugs that have dome-shaped bases that I thought would create a fun look for these cakes and they worked perfectly as ramekin stand-ins since they are essentially the same thing.

In fact, I ended up choosing the cakes made in the mugs for these photos because I liked how they were not as squat as the cakes made in the ramekins and had a fun, unique shape to them. I haven't tried using mugs as ramekin substitutes for Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes yet but I'm guessing they would work just as well there too!

Just make sure to divide your batter evenly between 6 similarly sized oven safe containers and pop them in the oven on a baking sheet.

Sticky Pudding Cake Ingredients

  • Medjool dates - You might need to remove the pits yourself, which is easy to do by slicing the dates open and pulling out the hard center with your fingers, but often it's already done for you.
  • Boiling water - This is for soaking and softening the dates.
  • Baking soda
  • Sugar - I use granulated sugar in the cake batter and brown sugar in the sticky toffee sauce.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salted butter
  • Eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Heavy cream

How to make Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

  1. Prep. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and spraying 6 individual ramekins or oven-safe mugs with baking spray. You could also bake the cake in a square 8x8 pan or in muffin cups if you don't have ramekins or mugs that will work.
  2. Soak the dates. Combine the dates, boiling water, baking soda, and vanilla in a small food processor (affiliate link) and pulse to chop the dates. Or you can just chop them on a cutting board and add them to a bowl with the other ingredients. Either way, let the dates soak for 15 minutes to soften before proceeding.
  3. Cream butter and sugar. Use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and light. Add the eggs and be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients. Mix on low speed just until the flour, baking powder, and salt are combined with the butter mixture.
  5. Stir in dates. Add the soaked dates (water and all) to the flour mixture, folding them into the cake batter. Just be careful not to overmix the batter.
  6. Bake. Pour batter into the prepared ramekins or pan and bake for 18-22 minutes until done. A toothpick inserted into the center of each cake should come out clean with just a few crumbs. Definitely do not overbake. This can be done a day or two ahead and the individual puddings can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature until you are ready to serve.

How to make Toffee Sauce

  1. Melt butter and sugar. This is a lot like making caramel sauce. Just combine the brown sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the butter and sugar melt together.
  2. Simmer. Lower heat to a simmer, then add the cream and salt. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes while stirring until the sauce thickens slightly.
  3. Plate. Place one sticky toffee pudding cake on each serving plate and pour some of the hot toffee sauce over it. It will soak into the cake and make it extra gooey. If you bake the cake in a square pan, you could poke holes in the top so even more of the sauce can soak in to the middle of the cake.
  4. Serve. I recommend serving these warm with extra toffee sauce on the side and a little drizzle of heavy cream over the top. But they are also delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or the warm custard sauce from my Irish apple cake recipe.

Storing this Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Uneaten sticky toffee pudding can be stored in an airtight container on the counter at room temperature whether you have already topped it with the toffee sauce or not. It will be good for up to 5 days. Unused toffee sauce can be kept in the refrigerator and warmed in the microwave or a small saucepan just before pouring it over the cakes.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake FAQs

Is figgy pudding the same as sticky toffee pudding?

No, figgy pudding is made with figs while sticky toffee pudding is made with dates.

Is sticky toffee pudding Scottish or English?

I'm sure there is debate about whether sticky toffee pudding is actually Scottish or English. It's popular in both countries though and you will see it on menus all over the UK if you are traveling there.

Is sticky toffee pudding better with custard or ice cream?

Personally I think it's better with a vanilla custard sauce or just straight cream, but you can't go wrong with a scoop of ice cream.

Is sticky toffee pudding better the next day?

Many folks say that sticky toffee pudding is better the day after it is baked once it has had time to cool and the flavors have had a chance to meld. You can rewarm it in the oven or the microwave before serving.

Which dates are best for sticky toffee pudding?

I recommend using dried medjool dates, but you could also use fresh dates or even prunes for this recipe.

Make sure not to overbake these as part of the magic of a Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake is its, well, stickiness, not just from the sauce but the cake itself, and if you overbake it you will end up with dry, not-so-sticky cake, which will spoil the effect. Definitely err on the side of underbaking, rather than overbaking.

sticky toffee pudding on a white plate with forks

More UK-Inspired Recipes You'll Enjoy

More Cake Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

Stay in the know

Best Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake with Toffee Sauce

5 from 11 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 18 mins
Total Time 33 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 6 servings
Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake is a deliciously moist, date cake drenched in a warm butterscotch-toffee sauce.  It's a classic and iconic British dessert popular in all of England, Scotland and Ireland, and it's easy to see why!

Ingredients
  

Date Cakes

  • 6 ounces pitted Medjool dates about 1 cup or 8-10 dates, chopped
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 2 large large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Toffee Sauce

  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of coarse kosher salt

Instructions
 

Date Cakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 6 individual ramekins or mugs or 9 cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray.
  • Combine the chopped dates, boiling water, baking soda and vanilla in a bowl (or just put them together in a food processor to chop the dates) and let the dates soak for 15 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Beat well using a mixer until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix well to combine.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir just until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Fold in the dates and water just until combined, but do not overmix.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the ramekins, mugs, or muffin cups, then bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean and the top springs back at your touch. Don't overbake.

Toffee Sauce

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter over medium heat. Cook and stir until the butter and sugar melt together, then lower heat to a simmer add the cream and salt, stirring and cooking for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • To serve, place one cake on each serving plate and top with toffee sauce and a little cream or vanilla ice cream.

Notes

The easiest way to pit your dates is to just tear them open with your fingers and dig the pits out.  And since they are super sticky, rather than chopping them with a knife on a cutting board, I just dumped my dates, boiling water, baking soda and vanilla into the food process and pulsed a few times until the dates were chopped pretty fine and everything was combined. If you want to make these ahead of time, let the cakes cool completely and store them in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  When you are ready to serve them, drizzle each cake with some toffee sauce and heat in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes until warmed through. Lightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Nutrition

Calories: 704kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 546mg | Potassium: 309mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 71g | Vitamin A: 1246IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

Share This With the World

PinYummly

Related Recipes

About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Reader questions and reviews

  1. Yum! We visited the UK last year for a couple of weeks and this was on almost every menu. What a great way to relive some good memories with something tasty!

  2. My mother went through a phase when I was a child where she was experimenting with all types of puddings. I remember being disappointed that it wasn't custard until I tasted the moist little cakes with it's unique sauce. I hadn't thought of that in a long time. I will have to try this recipe and fail to inform my kids that it's an Irish pudding until serving time. Then I can tell them more stories about their grandmother. I don't suppose you have a recipe for Treacle Tarts...

    1. This is such a funny story! I love it! I don't have a treacle tart recipe posted yet but it's on my list of things I would like to make this year!

  3. 5 stars
    Oh that reminds me of a dish I had in Prague last year!! Yes I need your sticky toffee pudding in my life, I should make this regularly. I would be sunshine after a long day. =D

  4. Oh man, this looks delicious! I only like dates wrapped in bacon...but I think this beautiful butterscotch-toffee sauce is enough for me to try this dessert. It looks so wonderfully divine.

  5. Warm cake with gooey toffee on top?! Sign me up. I can almost taste this sweet treat just looking at those photos. What a great dessert to make for family!

  6. This looks divine! And your explanation of how folks in the UK use the word "pudding" was super helpful. I've always wondered what made these dishes "pudding" when they didn't outwardly look like such. Now I know! 🙂

    1. Yes, you could definitely do that! I'm not sure on an exact cook time, but I would start checking around 20 minutes and I would think it would be done by 30 minutes for sure.

  7. I made this for corned beef and cabbage dinner dessert, it was a huge hit!! Definitely will be making it again - thank you for sharing.

  8. This may be blasphemy, but I didn’t have dates and substituted prunes. Amazing result. Moist and sticky with a hint of rich prune flavour. Won’t go back to dates. 

  9. Confused-recipe says to combine butter, sugar, and cream in the cake part...no cream listed as a cake ingredient, just as a sauce ingredient.

    1. Sorry about the confusion there. To "cream" in this context is an older baking term meaning to beat until creamy but I can see how it would lead to the conclusion you came to. I updated the instructions to be less ambiguous.