I tasted my first sticky toffee pudding while visiting Edinburgh when I was pregnant with my son. True to the myths about pregnant women, I had cravings. Uncontrollable, intense cravings. For instance, seeing a box of Nilla Wafers in the supermarket one afternoon set me off on an unswerving path to consume that childhood indulgence known officially as Nilla Banana Pudding. I remember staying up late one night making it from scratch, eating the whole thing over the next several days, and then not being able to look at a banana or a Nilla Wafer again for a long, long time. Nilla Banana Pudding, it turns out, is one pudding that sounds better than it is, at least to a pregnant lady.
But then, at 7 months pregnant, I found myself in Edinburgh where it seemed nearly every restaurant menu boasted some version of sticky toffee pudding. While there are endless variations on the dish, they all include a super moist cake (a pudding in British parlance) enriched with dates and a rich, gooey toffee sauce. Pregnant or not, I could eat sticky toffee pudding any time. Suffice to say, I ate a lot of sticky toffee pudding in my week of being pregnant in Scotland. It has since become my family’s traditional Christmas dessert.
You can make this sticky toffee pudding in a bundt pan, soufflé dish, or even just a regular square or round cake pan, but for an elegant Christmas dinner presentation, I like to make it into six mini cakes using a 6-cavity mini fluted tube pan or a 6-cavity mini bundt pan.Print
Adapted from www.FoodNetwork.com. The cake is so moist that it will easily hold up if made a day ahead and stored, covered, at room temperature. You can make the sauce ahead too, store it in the refrigerator, and reheat it briefly in the microwave or on the stovetop to return it to a liquid consistency.
- Vegetable oil spray or butter for greasing the pan
- 4 ounces pitted dates, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups boiling water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For toffee sauce:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350º F and grease a 6-cup bundt pan, 9-inch round or square cake pan, 2-quart soufflé dish, or a 6-cavity mini tube or bundt pan.
To make the cake:
- Place the dates and baking soda in a bowl, pour the boiling water over, and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture in several additions, beating after each until incorporated. Stir in the dates and their soaking liquid.
- Spoon or pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in the preheated oven until it is browned, set, and firm on top, about 20 to 25 minutes if making 6 mini cakes or 30 to 35 minutes if making one large cake. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
To make the toffee sauce:
- Bring the butter, cream, and brown sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan set over medium high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium and boil, stirring constantly, about 8 minutes, until the mixture has thickened.
You can make the cake and sauce up to this point a day ahead of time. Leave the cake in the pan, cover it, and store it at room temperature. Store the sauce, covered, in the refrigerator and reheat briefly in the microwave or on the stovetop to return it to a liquid consistency.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Poke several holes in the cake with a chopstick or skewer.
- Spoon about 1/3 of a cup of the sauce over the cake (still in its pan), spreading evenly and letting it run down into the holes.
- Broil for about 2 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly.
- Unmold the cake or cakes, cut into wedges if making one big cake, and serve warm, drizzled with the remaining sauce.