This is a real real Christmas staple in our house. I don’t remember why we made it for the first time 4 years ago, but now as soon as it starts to get colder and darker one of us will turn to the other and say ‘it’s almost sticky toffee pudding time‘. It just makes the winter so much cosier.
Don’t be put off by the dates – there are a lot but it really doesn’t leave a date taste, just a wonderful richness in the best winter warmer desert of all time.
What you need for the pudding:
- 225g whole Medjool dates, with the stones removed
- 175ml boiling water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 175g self-raising flour, plus extra for flouring the pan
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 eggs
- 85g butter softened, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 140g demerara/muscovado sugar
- 2 tbsp black treacle
- 100ml milk
For the toffee sauce
- 175g demerara/muscovado sugar
- 50g butter cut into pieces
- 225ml double cream
- 1 tbsp black treacle
It’s really easy:
- Chop the dates quite small, put them in a bowl, then pour the boiling water over. Leave for about 30 mins until well-soaked, then mash a bit with a potato masher or fork. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Butter and flour a loaf cake tin and heat your oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
- While the dates are soaking, make the cake mix: Mix the flour and bicarbonate of soda together in one bowl, and beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Beat the butter and sugar together in the largest bowl for a few minutes until they are slightly creamy (the mixture will be grainy from the sugar).
- Add the eggs to the sugar and butter mixture a little at a time, beating well all the time. Beat in the black treacle.
- Using a large spoon, gently fold in one-third of the flour, then half the milk, being careful not to knock the air out. Repeat until all of the flour and milk is used.
- Stir the soaked dates into the cake mix. The mix may look a little curdled at this point and will be like a soft, thick batter. Don’t worry – everything is fine! Spoon the mix evenly between the tins and bake for 20-25 mins, until risen and firm.
- Meanwhile, put the sugar and butter for the toffee sauce in a medium saucepan with half the cream. Bring it to the boil over a medium heat, stirring all the time, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Stir in the black treacle, the turn up the heat slightly and let the mixture bubble away for 2-3 mins until it is a rich toffee colour (stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn). Take the pan off the heat and beat in the rest of the cream.
- Remove the pudding from the oven. Leave it in the tin for a few mins, then loosen them well from the sides of the tin with a small palette knife before turning them out. You can serve them now with the sauce drizzled over, but they’ll be even stickier if left for a day or two coated in the sauce and then reheated in the oven.