Friday, July 22, 2011

Anyone For Sticky Toffee Pudding?

Sticky toffee pudding
A simply irresistible dessert;
From the stickiness of the toffee
To the moistness of the cake 
Add vanilla ice-cream
To make heaven on plate. 
                                   - My Food Odyssey

That's my take on it anyway.

It is said that sticky toffee pudding was invented by Francis Coulson of the Ullswater Sharrow Bay Hotel in Cumbria back in the 1970s. However, in a finding by the British journalist Felicity Cloake, Mr Coulson actually admitted to adapting the recipe from a Mrs Martin of Lancashire.

After leaving Melbourne - where this delectable dessert is served by most cafes and restaurants - I landed in South-East Asia where it isn't as readily available. 

So what's a girl gotta do in these times of sticky toffee pudding shortages?  Make her own of course!

I started to scour the web and by chance, I even saw Nigella make her own quick version on TV.  Amongst the abundant recipes to be found, I decided that I wanted to follow the legendary Francis Coulson's.  Afterall, if the highly renowned British chef Gary Rhodes endorses it, it must be good. 

However, trying to find Coulson's exact recipe is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  It is top secret and those who have been privy to it, have had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Still, I found a version of Coulson's recipe online at Miles Collins.  And I adapted it for my own kitchen confidential experiment.   As I couldn't locate black treacle anywhere, I decided to adapt Jamie Oliver's recipe for toffee sauce by reducing the amounts of butter, sugar and cream .  It came out divine.

Sticky Toffee Pudding With Toffee Sauce

Serving size: 6
PUDDING INGREDIENTS - adapted from Miles Collins
50g (2oz) unsalted butter (room temperature), plus a little extra for greasing 
170g (6oz) caster or brown sugar
2 free-range eggs, medium
175g (6oz) dates, pitted and chopped 
175g (6oz) self-raising flour, sieved
290ml (10fl oz) cold water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla essence

TOFFEE SAUCE -  adapted from Jamie Oliver
90g Unsalted Butter
90g Brown sugar
120ml Thick cream

Optional: Vanilla ice-cream

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350 F/gas mark 4.

2. Line and grease an 8" round baking tin.

3. Cream together sugar and butter until light and pale.  Add eggs one at a time and mix well.  Sieve in flour and add vanilla essence. 

4. Meanwhile, place dates and water into a pan, boil for about 5 mins.  Add the bicarbonate of soda and give it a quick stir.

5.  Add the softened date mixture to the rest of the ingredients.  Mix everything together well, ensuring that there are no visible lumps of flour.

6. Pour the cake mixture into the baking tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and feels firm, but springy.

Tip: Insert a metal or wooden skewer to see if it comes out clean.  If so, the cake is ready. If not, put the cake back in the oven for a minute or more and test again.

7. Once cake is ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes before removing from the tin.

8. For the sauce, simply place the butter, sugar and cream in a pan over a low heat.  Stir gently for about 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened and darkened in colour.
NOTE: Please do not leave the sauce as it will start to bubble and rise fairly quickly, which is normal.

To serve, cut cake into equal portions, pour generous amounts of sauce and a spoonful (or two) of vanilla ice-cream for that extra touch of decadence.  Enjoy.

Storage Tip:  This cake can keep for up to 6 days in a cold refridgerator.  It also freezes well. 

I freeze individual portions with sauce.  When ready to eat, pop a frozen portion into a microwave on high for about 60-90 seconds.  It tastes just as good as when it first comes out of the oven.


  1. Oh I would love to see pictures of this sticky toffee pudding. It sounds so delicious!

  2. It is certainly delicious and unfortunately my photos today were rubbish. But I'll be having another go tomorrow! :) Thanks for dropping by!