The most lush sticky toffee pudding recipe made extra moist with apple, baked in a pool of dark toffee sauce - and served with even more at the table. Easily made as a family size, serve them also individually and freeze the rest for later.
What is Sticky Toffee Pudding Made From?
Sticky Toffee Pudding is pretty lush and moreish. Traditionally this pudding or cake is made with mainly dates, soft brown sugar, butter and flour and served with a rich toffee sauce (butter, sugar and cream). As a result, this is not classed as a light dessert!
However, I add a grated tart apple for an extra moist twist to the classic. Somehow adding an apple makes us feel a bit better with that decadent luscious toffee sauce.
This classic British dessert is so decadent that my parents would discretely ask my permission if the kids were allowed to have some (am I strict or something?). However, it didn't take long for my girls to crack the codeword: S.T.P. meant Sticky Toffee Pudding and they'd just squeal for it, "Oui, oui, STP!"
This pudding goes against my usual French-style eating habits: I love dessert but shy away from over-sugared and filling puddings. So this is our exception - and the version below is my best recipe and method for coping with this most delicious dilemma called Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome.
What Country is Sticky Toffee Pudding From?
Growing up with sticky toffee pudding in Scotland, my parents would often drive us down to the Lake District in England.
Here, the highlight were mandatory stops at the legendary Cartmel Village Shop. Known as the "Home of Sticky Toffee", this is where the prized British pudding is said to have originated. Today, you can find it almost anywhere in the UK as its popularity has grown - and spread to America. In Australia and New Zealand, it's known as Sticky Date Pudding.
The Most Popular British Pudding
The original pudding from Cartmel in the Lake District is distinctly dark and lush, covered in the darkest ever toffee sauce.
So when I found a recipe for Sticky Ginger & Date Pudding by Carini Contini's aunt (in her Kitchen Garden Cookbook, 2014), I loved that the sauce is first used in baking the pudding or cake as well as poured over it at the end.
Living in France has meant the necessity of making this at home, as we can't find it at our local pâtisseries. So I've done my best to make it taste as close as possible to the original taste from England.
It's often requested by my beau-père, Jean-Pierre, who asks with his French accent for "...more steeecky toa-fee pood-eeeng, please. Well, here's the recipe, beau-papa.
I adapted the original recipe, cutting down slightly on the butter and sugar, plus I added a grated apple, since my Granny always mixed dates with apple. That's a deliciously nostalgic family tradition I am continuing.
Did you know I converted Sticky Toffee Pudding into a macaron for my first book, Mad About Macarons? It makes it an entirely gluten-free version - both as a regular-sized macaron and as a giant macaron dessert.
What Alcohol is in Sticky Toffee Pudding?
Although optional, adding a couple of tablespoons of dark rum just adds that extra oomph, that kick, that je ne sais quoi to the sticky toffee sauce. This makes the whole lusciousness extra heavenly for those cold, dark nights.
You could call this version a Tipsy Sticky Toffee Pudding - although if serving to children or those more fragile, omit it.
There are two ways of making this recipe.
Normally it's made as a flat cake with the batter sitting (nearly floating) on top of a pool of toffee sauce. It's then baked in an ovenproof dish and served spooned into pudding bowls.
Individual Sticky Toffee Puddings
The above family-sized flat cake version has one HUGE problem, however. We normally have at least second portions which can get out of control. It's what we call the Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome.
So, to avoid such sticky toffee impulses, my preferred method is to make individual puddings.
To make individual puddings, pour the batter into standard muffin moulds. Use either buttered metallic moulds - even better, non-stick or silicone moulds so no greasing is necessary.
The result is just enough for each person without the seconds. That way we eat half and freeze the rest directly in their moulds before anyone can ask for more (am I controlling?)
How to Make the Best Sticky Toffee Pudding Ever
Making sticky toffee pudding is pretty straightforward.
First make the toffee sauce and set aside for later. You'll need to bake the cake with some of it - it's what makes it extra moist and lush.
In a saucepan, cover the chopped dates with the water and bring to the boil. Add the baking soda then mash until a smooth paste. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then stir in the grated apple until well combined.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl or in a large stand-mixer until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, flour and ground ginger. Mix in the date and apple mixture until mixed together.
Bake the pudding in some of the sauce to make it extra moist.
- For individual puddings: Pour ¼ of the sauce (about a dessert spoon) at the bottom of each muffin cavity. Top with the batter until ⅓ from the top, giving enough room for the batter to rise. Bake for 25 minutes.
- For a big family size: Pour ¼ of the sauce into the bottom of a buttered standard gratin dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
How to Serve
Serve the rest of the warm toffee sauce at the table and either eat on its own, with a little cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream. This is not normally served with custard, like other British puddings.
Any leftover sauce is great poured on ice creams - and bliss on chestnut ice cream.
What to do with Leftover Sticky Toffee Pudding
Leave the pudding(s) and separate sauce to cool and then store each in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Even better, they freeze well.
The individual puddings are particularly easy to remove from their silicone moulds straight from the freezer and reheat when needed. As a result, the puddings are a handy make-ahead recipe to serve stress-free for a dinner party later.
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Apple
- standard non-stick 12 cavity muffin moulds (for individual puddings) or gratin/pie dish 20x30x6cm/ 7x11x2 inches (for one large pudding)
Sticky Toffee Sauce:
- 175 g (6oz/¾ cup) butter, unsalted
- pinch salt (fleur de sel, Maldon or Celtic sea salt)
- 250 g (9oz/1½ cups) soft dark Muscovado sugar Molasses ('Vergeoise Brun' in France)
- 225 g (8oz/1 cup) whipping cream (30% fat) or heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon dark rum
- 175 g (6oz/1 cup) pitted dates roughly chopped
- 175 ml (6fl oz/¾ cup) water
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tart apple (e.g. Granny Smith) peeled & grated
- 75 g (3oz/ ⅓ cup) butter, unsalted
- 110 g (4oz/½ cup + tbsp) soft dark brown sugar (Muscovado)
- 2 medium eggs organic
- 150 g (5.5oz/1 ¼ cups) plain flour (all purpose)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (no need if use self-raising flour above)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
Sticky Toffee Sauce:
- Melt the butter, sugar, cream and rum in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once dissolved, turn down the heat to low and stir occasionally until the sauce becomes smooth and glossy (about 10 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Batter:
- In a saucepan, cover the chopped dates with the water and bring to the boil. Add the baking soda then mash until a smooth paste. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then stir in the grated apple until well combined.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4.Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl or in a large stand-mixer until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, flour and ground ginger. Fold in the date and apple mixture until mixed together.
- Individual puddings: Pour ¼ of the sauce (about a dessert spoon) at the bottom of each muffin cavity. Top with the batter until ⅓ from the top, giving enough room for the batter to rise. Bake for 25 minutes.(Large Version: Pour ¼ of the sauce into the bottom of a buttered standard gratin dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes.)
- Remove the puddings from the moulds after 5 minutes cooling and place directly on serving dishes. Reheat the remaining ¾ of toffee sauce and pour over each pudding.
This recipe was first published 20 February 2019 but is now completely updated