Our family likes most things British. So much so that our daughter spent a few years studying there and now is married and living in England. One of the desserts I try to get when traveling there or visiting a pub here in the United States, is Sticky Toffee Pudding. This is not the Bill Cosby/American version of pudding. In England, a pudding can be sweet or savory, but is frequently a gooey dessert. Sticky Toffee Pudding is basically a date cake covered in buttery toffee sauce and then served with more buttery toffee sauce. If you are on a diet you will be hating me. If you are looking for a dessert to spoil someone, keep reading. I think this will be my new Christmas dinner habit.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
2 cups dates, pitted and then finely chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray an 8 inch cake pan with Pam and set aside.
Chop the dates by hand. I found a pit (see it there in the upper right hand corner?) and if I had used a food processor it would have been minced up with the dates and given a terrible crunch to the cake.
Place the chopped dates in a heat proof pan. Sprinkle the baking soda on top.
Boil the water and pour it on top of the dates. Give them a stir and set them aside.
Place the flour, baking powder, salt, allspice and the zest of an orange in a large bowl. Set aside.
I use a Kitchen Aid mixer for beating butter light and fluffy. I can do other things while it beats away. Scrape the sides down and beat for about 4 minutes. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and keep beating. Light and fluffy, remember?
Then add the eggs one at a time, scrape down the bowl between each one. It may start to look curdled. That will go away when you add the flour.
So add the flour, but do it half at a time. Add half the flour, beat until combined, scrape down the sides. Then add the other half and beat until combined.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the date mix on top. Then fold it in gently.
When combined, pour it into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Test with a toothpick to make sure it is done. It should come out clean with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
Remove the cake from the oven and poke a bunch of holes all over the top of the cake. Pour half of the warm Toffee Sauce over the top of the warm cake. Do not taste the toffee sauce or you won't have any left to use later. Save the other half for pouring on top of the cake when serving.
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Start the Toffee Sauce when the cake is about half way done.
Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, stirring frequently.
Sometimes the cake is served cut up into chunks and soaked with the toffee sauce. I just used a square of cake and poured the warmed sauce over the warm cake just before serving. You may want to double the Toffee Sauce recipe. It would be great on ice cream! And if you truly want to spoil someone, add a bit of whipped cream or Cool Whip on top.
Even with company for dinner and sending her home with a share of the S T P , we still had more for us! On the second day, I warmed up the cake and the toffee sauce. This time I cut the cake part into chunks and poured the remaining sauce on top. It was even better than the night before. So that is the method I recommend. And what we will have for family celebrations in the future.