We’re bringing our last blog post of 2019 to you early, to cover those holiday baking needs. (And because we’re going on Christmas break!) Each year we pick some sort of theme for the blog, and 2019 saw a lot of traditional baking recipes, inspired by the Great British Bakeoff tv show. To properly wrap up the year, we are finishing with one of my favorite desserts: Sticky Toffee Pudding. This is not a pudding in the American sense. It’s a buttery, date-heavy cake with a toffee sauce poured over it while still hot to soak up all that deliciousness; and then served with extra sauce and a little whipped cream. It is heavenly!
While this recipe has roots in a traditional sticky toffee pudding, I have put my own twists on it per my preferences. As stated above, this dessert gets a lot of its sweetness from dates. Most recipes call for soaking the dates in hot water, but I like to soak mine in coffee. Sticky toffee pudding is very sweet, and I like the balance that the coffee brings to it, toning that sweetness down a bit and adding another layer of flavor. If you are not a coffee fan, or would prefer a more traditional taste, just swap the coffee out for equal parts hot water, or even a favorite tea! And as far as dates go, whatever you have available to you. I am fortunate enough to have a date vendor at my farmer’s market. I have used Medjool, Deglet Noor, Barhi, Dayri, Zahidi, you name it, in this recipe.
Besides dates, sticky toffee pudding also relies on other sweetening agents. While dark brown sugar can be used, I like the rich flavor of muscovado sugar. It has a slight molasses-y taste, in a good way. And while traditional UK recipes will also often call for black treacle (which one has to hunt down in the US), I prefer date syrup to mimic the flavor of the dried dates already being used.
The cake itself is fairly straigthfoward. Butter and sugar get creamed together, eggs and vanilla added in. Then the date puree, and then the dry ingredients at the end.
I like to bake my sticky toffee pudding in a muffin tin. It makes the perfect little individual portions. This recipe makes 10 servings, so only 10 of the muffin cups are needed.
Once baked, these little guys cool for a bit in the muffin pan (otherwise they would fall apart if removed right out of the oven.) Right before the cakes come out of the oven, the toffee sauce can be started. It comes together quickly: butter, brown sugar, date syrup and a pinch of salt get melted together. Then heavy cream added and cooked till thickened.
After the cakes are done cooling a little, they get flipped upside down on a wire rack placed in a half sheet pan. The pan underneath is to catch all the toffee sauce about to be poured over the cakes.
Using a toothpick, several holes get poked in the top of the cake and the toffee syrup gets poured on.
I prefer to not totally douse the little cakes (puddings) in toffee sauce, but leave some bare edges here and there so one can see what is underneath.
I’ve had sticky toffee pudding served with ice cream, crème fraiche sauce, mascarpone, a drizzle of cream, and whipped cream. I like the simplicity of whipped cream. For this dessert, I prefer it unsweetened. Just like the coffee, I like elements to balance out the sweetness of the dessert.
The cake/pudding is best served warm, although it is also quite tasty at room temperature, with the leftover sauce warmed up. Let us know if you have any questions or comments. Enjoy!
A big thank you to all our readers and subscribers. We hope this holiday season is full of the things that have true meaning in life for you. And of course, lots of scrumptious baked goods! Happy baking and happy holidays and we will see you in the New Year!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
228 g. (8 oz.) chopped pitted dates
240 g. (1 cup) hot coffee
115 g. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
165 g. (3/4 cup firmly packed) muscovado sugar
44 g. (2 Tbsp.) date syrup
2 large eggs, room temperature
5 g. (1 tsp.) vanilla bean paste or extract
180 g. (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
8 g. (2 tsp.) baking powder
3 g. (3/4 tsp.) kosher salt
115 g. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
213 g. (1 cup firmly packed) dark brown sugar
pinch kosher salt
22 g. (1 Tbsp.) date syrup
230 g. (1 cup) heavy cream
345 g. (1 1/2 cups) heavy whipping cream
For the Cake:
Place the dates in a medium bowl and pour over the hot coffee. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Once dates have soaked, add to a blender, along with the coffee and puree until a slightly chunky puree is achieved.
Set aside until room temperature. Do not put hot date puree in the cake batter.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 10 of the cups of a regular muffin tin.
Add the butter, muscovado sugar and date syrup to the plastic whipping bowl with the single wire whisks. Start on the lowest speed and then gradually increase to medium high (4 o’clock). Cream on medium high speed for 4 minutes. Scrape sides down, add eggs and vanilla bean paste and cream for another minute on same speed.
Scrape sides down again and reduce speed to low (1 o’clock). Add all of cooled date puree and mix until incorporated, gradually increasing speed to medium (3 o’clock).
Reduce speed to lowest setting (12 o’clock) and add in dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are thoroughly combined, scraping down sides as needed.
Divide batter evenly among the 10 greased and floured cups in the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes, until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan.
Gently run a butter knife around the edge of the cakes and carefully remove from the muffin tin. Place upside down on a wire cooling rack inside of a half sheet pan.
For the Toffee Sauce:
While the cakes are baking, add the butter, brown sugar, pinch of salt and date syrup to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using a toothpick, poke several holes in the top of the cakes. Spoon the toffee sauce over each cake, 3-4 large spoonfuls per cake, ensuring the top and most of the sides are covered in toffee sauce. Reserve extra sauce for serving with cakes.
For the Whipped Cream:
Add cream to the plastic whipping bowl with the balloon whisks. Start on the lowest speed and then gradually work up to the highest speed, whipping until soft peaks are formed. If a stiffer whipped cream is desired, whip a little longer.
Serve the warm cakes/puddings with leftover toffee sauce and whipped cream.
Yield: 10 servings
WHOLE WHEAT VERSION
-Replace all purpose flour with 180 g. (1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 Tbsp.) whole wheat flour. If milling at home, soft wheat is recommended.
-Muscovado sugar in cake can be replaced with 3/4 cup Sucanat and 22 g. (1 Tbsp.) date syrup since Sucanat is drier than muscovado.
-Brown sugar in toffee sauce can be replace with 1 cup Sucanat.
-Follow instructions above.
GLUTEN FREE VERSION
-Replace all purpose flour with an equal amount of a measure-for-measure/cup-for-cup gluten free flour.
-Follow instructions above.
-Gluten free baked goods are best eaten the day they are made.