Sticky-Toffee Pudding Recipe

Reader Contribution by Morgan Crumm

The UK meets Texas in this decadent date cake with sinfully delicious (and simple!) toffee sauce. The first time I ever saw the words “sticky,” “toffee,” and “pudding” together was in 2010, on the specials board at the Bulman Restaurant in Kinsale, Ireland. I had no idea what it was, but I was eager to find out. Before I could order dessert, however, my group got the bill and rushed off to our next destination. Fortunately for me, since that time, sticky toffee pudding has been slowly creeping onto the US culinary scene. Every time I see it on a menu, I have to order it. While always delicious—it’s hard to go wrong topping a moist cake with anything resembling caramel—only one I’ve tried has been hands-down imitation worthy:

Found at my local Whole Foods Market (and occasionally at Costco), the sticky toffee pudding from the Sticky Toffee Pudding Co. in Austin, Texas, beats any restaurant or homemade version I’ve come across. The difference? While most recipes call for water or milk in the cake batter, the Austin baker with English roots at the helm of the Sticky Toffee Pudding Co. uses Espresso, bringing balance and complexity to an otherwise exclusively sweet experience. Taking a cue from this perfection, my version employs coffee as the soaking liquid for the dates and the primary liquid component of the batter. The food processor yields an extremely smooth batter and makes quick work of mixing—just avoid over-processing once the flour is added so the cake stays tender. The toffee sauce is practically foolproof, keeps well up to a week in the fridge, and can be easily reheated in the microwave when needed.

Delicious enough for dinner with the Queen and simple enough for a Texas Tuesday, this is one dessert you’ll be thrilled to whip up for any occasion.

For the Cake


• 8 ounce pitted dates (I use the deglet noor variety)
• 1 French-press worth of very hot coffee or enough very hot coffee to completely cover the dates in a small bowl or large Pyrex measuring cup
• 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 cup dark brown sugar
• 1 tsp coarse kosher salt (I use Morton)
• 2 large eggs
• 1-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the Toffee Sauce


• 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1 cup dark brown sugar
• 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt (I use Morton)
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract


1. Place the dates in a small bowl and completely cover with very hot coffee. Let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the butter in a 9-1/2-inch glass pie dish (or dish of comparable volume) and place in the oven to melt the butter as the oven preheats.
3. Once the butter has melted, carefully tilt and swirl the butter in the pan to grease the bottom and sides before pouring the butter into a food processor. Place the greased pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the soaked dates to the food processor along with the butter, gently shaking the spoon as you go to avoid excess liquid transfer.
5. Measure out 1-1/3 cups of the coffee to add to the food processor and discard the rest.
6. Add the baking soda, brown sugar, and salt, and process till almost smooth or till the dates are well minced.
7. Scrape down the sides, add the eggs, and process till smooth.
8. Scrape down the sides, add the flour, and process just till incorporated, about 5 seconds.
9. Transfer the mixture to the greased pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes back with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
10. While the cake is baking, place all the sauce ingredients except for the vanilla in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally at first just to combine, and boil for 3 minutes.
11. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
12. Serve the warm sauce over the warm cake along with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Leftover sauce and cake can be stored together or separately in the refrigerator and microwaved for 30 seconds to reheat — just do not microwave more than you intend to eat in one sitting.

Morgan Crumm is a mother, blogger, recipe-developer, and real-food advocate based in Dallas, Texas. More of her work can be found at Being The Secret Ingredient, a blog about food, life, and love.

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