Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe:
1 cup (130 grams) finely chopped, dried and pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (180 ml) boiling water
1 1/4 cups (165 grams) all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (75 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (105 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (105 grams) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream (cream with a 35-40% butterfat content)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sticky Toffee Pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter or spray, with a non stick vegetable spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan.
In a heatproof bowl place the finely chopped dates and baking soda. Pour the boiling water over the dates and stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the dates, along with their liquid. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Then with a wooden skewer or toothpick poke holes over the entire surface of the cake. Pour about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the hot toffee sauce evenly over the top of the cake.
Toffee Sauce: While the cake is baking, place all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat, and stirring constantly, heat until the butter melts and the sugar has dissolved. (Note: If you like lots of toffee sauce, you can double the recipe.)
Serve the cake warm from the oven with the remaining toffee sauce. If desired, sprinkle with chopped pecans or walnuts and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator and simply reheated.
Makes about 8 servings.
Sticky Toffee Pudding, or Sticky Date Pudding, was invented by the British and it's kind of a cross between a pudding and a cake. You could call it a 'cakey' pudding or a 'pudding' cake. To me, there is nothing better on a cold winter's day then curling up with a bowl of this deliciously soft and moist date filled cake that has been doused with a warm toffee sauce. It's sweet, it's sticky, and gooey, and moist, and it begs to be served warm from the oven with a extra helping of toffee sauce poured over top. You could also serve it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, and maybe some toasted pecans or walnuts.
A Sticky Toffee Pudding has two components, a pudding (cake) and a rich toffee sauce. While I normally bake the pudding in a cake pan, you can use a pudding mold. Just place the mold in a water bath and bake for about 60 minutes. Now, the flavor of this pudding comes mainly from dried dates which can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores. Always check the expiry date on the package. The dates do need to be pitted and to do this cut a slit down the length of the date with a sharp knife and then slide out the small smooth pit.
Once you have pitted the dates, they need to be finely chopped as this will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pan during baking. The dates, along with brown sugar, give this pudding its' sweet flavor. The first step in this recipe is to combine the dates with some baking soda and boiling water, as this softens the tough outer skin of the dates. This mixture is then set aside to cool (about 10-15 minutes) and then it's folded into the cake batter (both the dates and their liquid). While the cake is baking, make the toffee sauce. That way, as soon as the cake comes out of the oven, some of the warm sauce can be poured over the hot cake. You will find that some of the sauce is absorbed into the cake giving it a nice butterscotch flavor and a moisture texture. But some of the sauce will remain on the top of the cake forming a soft glaze. If you like you can then place the cake under the oven's broiler until the glaze becomes brown and crunchy.