Friday, March 19, 2010

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Dear Sticky Toffee Pudding,

You had me at sticky. I love you more than my luggage. I miss you.



Yep. I promised cake and here I am delivering. Pudding in the UK means dessert. Sticky toffee pudding is a dessert of the cake variety. More specifically, it's a gooey spice cake with a gooey caramel glaze. It is DEE-LISH-US. Even the Cadbury's version that you buy in a weird tin and boil is delicious. So I suspected that the homemade Jamie Oliver version was going to be delicious too. I was right. It's better than the canned kind. Imagine that.

Dear Jamie Oliver,

Your fish recipes intimidate me but your puddings never let me down. Thank you.

Love and crumpets,


Here is the recipe, followed by some disclaimerish notes.*

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Cake recipe adapted from Jamie's Dinners, by Jamie Oliver
Caramel recipe from unknown source (but memorialized on scrap of paper in my trusty red recipe folder)*
Yield: big square cake, to be eaten by 4 or 16 people, depending on self-restraint and sweet-tooth of people in question

8 oz. fresh pitted dates (I used the kind that are rolled in coconut)
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon self-rising flour*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves or allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons Ovaltine
2 tablespoons plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a pie dish (or, as pictured here, a 9X9" square dish).

Put dates in bowl with the baking soda and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Let stand for a couple of minutes so dates will soften. (Science in action!) Drain the dates and mash them with a potato masher or puree them in a blender or food processor. (If you use the coconut-rolled kind, they mash quite easily with the back of a spoon.)

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until pale in color, using a wooden spoon. Add eggs, flour, spices, and Ovaltine. Mix together well and then fold in yogurt and pureed dates. Pour batter into greased dish and bake for 35 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the caramel sauce, like so:

In small heavy saucepan, stir together 1 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Stir in 1/2 cup water. Add 2/3 cup half-and-half, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly. The mixture may look curdled, just keep cooking and stirring. Remove from heat once thickened and stir in 1 teaspoon (or more) vanilla. This sauce is great on bread puddings or ice cream or really anything.

*Notes: (1) Mr. Oliver's toffee recipe did not work for me and I have not figured out what I did wrong. Hence the trusty caramel recipe from my trusty red recipe folder. It's a sure thing. (2) I did not have self-rising flour, so I found a recipe online for self-rising flour. I thought it worked fine until the cake cooled. It totally sunk in the middle. This did not make the cake any less tasty, but it was definitely a bad influence on its presentation. So I recommend using self-rising flour or using a super precise substitute recipe (1 cup + 1 tablespoon of flour suggests a need for precision, yes?). (3) No veganization possibilities here. The butter is sort of what makes this bad boy so so good.


  1. My brother-in-law is of the British persuasion (and also a Sheehan, weird) and his lovely British-by-marriage wife made this for dessert on Christmas. I almost died. Vegan-shmegan. Give me some toffee pudding!

  2. Edith's 'red recipe folder' is to food what 'little black book' is to George Clooney (or the like).

    It's contents is a little bit naughty but always wonderful, it's filled with surprises, and everyone wants to get their hands on it!!!

  3. Lisa S-J: I'm jealous that you have British in-laws. I am an anglophile, you know.

    Lisa H.: Thanks! Maybe making the red recipe folder into something more organized and attractive can be a group project?