An ode to Sticky Toffee Pudding…

It’s always a topic of conversation amongst foodies, that death row meal.  What would you choose to eat as your last meal on earth before going to see old sparky?  Well I don’t know about the whole meal, I haven’t quite decided, but I’m quite sure my death row dessert would be Sticky Toffee Pudding.

It’s the one dessert, if I see it on a menu, I just can’t say no.  It does everything a good dessert should do, it’s rich, sweet, takes you back to your childhood and envelopes you in a comforting duvet of sugar laden warm soft sponge, toffee sauce and of course cream.  This dessert has the power to turn grown adults into giggling children.

Sticky Toffee Pudding is a true classic and is pure, unbridled indulgence.  It might not be the healthiest item of food you could eat as there is an obscene amount of sugar, butter, eggs and cream in the pudding when you combine the sponge with the toffee sauce, but it’s definitely one hell of a treat.

Some people may be surprised to hear that the sponge mixture includes dates, but this makes sense when you think about the texture of dates, which are almost toffee like in their consistency and flavour.  I was surprised that the dates are soaked in hot tea before adding the softened dates and tea to the sponge mixture, but the tea actually adds a nice background aroma to the sponge, which for me really lifts the whole mix.

Trust me, if you master this recipe and produce this dessert for a dinner party or after the Sunday roast, people will love it and will talk about the pudding for a very long time afterwards.  Get this in your repertoire and it will become a firm favourite.  This recipe if from Darina Allen, the Godmother of Irish cooking, and is one of the easiest I’ve tried, which produces a light rich sponge and a delicious toffee sauce.

For me this dessert has to be served warm to get the maximum comfort factor.  Both the sponge and the toffee sauce should be warm and the cream should be cold from the fridge.  There’s no better sight than a wedge of soft light sponge, flecked with dates, with buttery toffee sauce dribbling down the side, and a big dollop of freshly whipped cream on top, just beginning to melt.

Sticky Toffee Pudding, I salute you!


225g chopped dates

300ml hot black tea

110g unsalted butter

170g caster sugar

3 organic eggs

225g self raising flour

1 tsp bicarb soda

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp ground espresso coffee

Toffee sauce

110g butter

175g dark soft brown sugar

110g granulated sugar

275g golden syrup

225ml double cream

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


You need a spring form cake tin 8ins in diameter.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Soak the dates in the hot tea for 15 minutes.  Brush the cake tin with oil and line the base with oiled greaseproof paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then fold in the flour.  Add the sifted bicarb of soda, vanilla extract and coffee to the date and tea mixture and stir this into the other mixture.  Turn into the prepared tin and cook in the oven for about 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean.  I check mine at about 45 minutes.

About 10 minutes before the end of cooking time, make the toffee sauce.

To make the toffee sauce, put the butter, sugars and golden syrup into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt gently on a low heat.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from the heat and gradually stir in the cream and the vanilla essence.  Put back on the heat and stir for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is absolutely smooth.

To serve pour some hot sauce onto a serving plate.  Put the sticky toffee pudding on top, and pour more sauce over.  Place a dollop of whipped cream on top.


About The Pickled Quince

I'm a Belfast native, living in Dublin who is passionate about good food, wine and beer, and all the excellent produce that Ireland has to offer. View all posts by The Pickled Quince

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