Sticky Toffee Pudding

Getting Seasonal…

#FirstOnTheFirst Sticky Toffee Pudding

When we plan our challenges for First on the First, we try to take the time of year into consideration. Croquembouche, for example, was set for June because it is traditionally served at French weddings and June is often thought of as the height of the wedding season. When we get to projects we’ll be preparing around Christmas-time, treats like last month’s Homemade Candy Canes come to mind. It may not be a food we typically serve–I hadn’t eaten Sticky Toffee Pudding before this challenge, for example–but it shouldn’t seem completely out of place. I think we hit the mark quite well this time. Visions of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol filled my head as I got to work, transporting me to a Christmas past without the need of any spirits. Well, except for a little Cointreau.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

The funny thing is that, at least, according to Sharrow Bay Hotel in the UK, Sticky Toffee Pudding has only been around since the early 1970s, when it was invented by Francis Coulson. In other words, my idea of a traditional Victorian Christmas could use a little revision. I’m off by 100 or so years. Oops. I really should find more time to read…

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Regardless, you can’t get more Christmas-y than this sticky cake with its ginger undertones and deep, rich flavor. My husband surprised me by actually liking it (have I told you what a picky PITA he is?) and the kids couldn’t wait to have another serving. By baking in these mini Bundt-like pans, each was treated with his/her own cake to devour. The plates were all licked clean.

Getting Sappy…

Sticky Toffee Pudding

As we close out another year of First on the First, I want to thank Kate of Food Babbles for her unending patience! We’re pretty opposite in our planning strategies and she has been a saint in putting up with my last-minute nonsense! I want to thank all the participants for struggling along with us. Sometimes the challenges are–literally–a piece of cake. Other times, you wonder why you even bothered. But we’re in this together, and I appreciate you coming back, month after month, for more abuse. Last, I want to thank all of you for reading about our journeys! It’s not easy to share when something you’ve tried in the kitchen is a flop, especially for the whole world to witness. But you have made it easier to see the big picture and understand that, in the grand scheme, something good comes from each of these experiments. Your support and wonderful comments encourage us to keep on trying.

Getting Sticky…

Now…who wants some pudding? Grab a fork and dig in!

And for February…

We’ll be starting the year with Steamed Buns. Sounds like I need to pick up some new kitchen equipment first! If you’d like to join in, please click on the First on the First tab above for details. We’d love to see what you create!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 10
  • 1 cup water
  • 1½ cups chopped pitted dates (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup candied ginger, chopped
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large cage free eggs
Toffee Sauce
  • ¾ cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lyle's Golden Syrup
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • pinch flaky sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons Cointreau, or other orange-flavored liqueur (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water and dates and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda; it will foam up; then stir in the candied ginger. Set aside to cool a bit.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour 10 mini Bundt pans (or 10 cavities in 2 pans of 6-cavities... I know, that sounds confusing). Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  7. Add 1 egg and beat until it's fully incorporated.
  8. Add half the flour mixture and half the dates, mixing until incorporated.
  9. Beat in the other egg, then add the remaining flour and dates, mixing until incorporated.
  10. Fill prepared mini Bundts half-way.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.
  12. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then cover with a wire rack, invert, and release onto wire rack to cool.
Toffee Sauce
  1. Bring the sugar, syrup, cream, butter, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Boil gently for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to keep from burning. Once it coats the back of a spoon, it's done.
  3. Remove from heat, add the Cointreau and vanilla extract (it will bubble up a bit--be careful!), and stir.
  1. Place a mini Bundt in the center of a shallow bowl. Spoon warm toffee sauce over the top of it. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.
If you can't find Lyle's Golden Syrup in the baker's aisle of your local grocery store, you can substitute unsulphured molasses. You'll get a deeper, richer flavor doing this.

You can make the cakes a day in advance and the toffee sauce as early as a few hours before serving. Just reheat the toffee sauce before spooning over the cakes.

Happy New Year!

May 2014 bring you good health, wealth, and happiness! I hope you’ll continue following our journey–and even consider participating!

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    • Alyssa D. {Suitcases & Sweets} on 1 January, 2014 at 12:09 pm
    • Reply

    This was a fantastic challenge! I have loved Sticky Toffee Pudding every time I’ve been to London, but have never tried to make it before — I was shocked how easy it was! Thanks for a fun First on the First 2013. 🙂

    1. Isn’t it wonderful when a project we get all psyched up about turns out to be a lot easier than we thought? Now you can make it over and over again!

  1. That looks amazing! Such a good way to use up the dates and golden syrup I have in my pantry…

    1. I’d love to hear what you think of it! Happy New Year!

  2. Love that we were on the same “personal sticky toffee pudding” wavelength this month. If I had a whole big dish I would likely have eaten way more than my fair share. Loved your post, your beautiful photos and most of all your incredibly kind words. Love doing this group with you! To another incredible year of First on the First!!

    1. Portion control is essential when dealing with sweets that may prove my lack of willpower. 😉 I am really loving sharing all these challenges with you and growing in the kitchen! Thank you!

  3. I loved this challenge – something not too hard and so delicious, that I’d never have tried otherwise – thanks so much for continuing to organize these challenges with Kate!

    1. I love it when a project turns out much less complicated than anticipated! We need those along the way, right? 🙂 Thank you!

    • Ruthy @ Omeletta on 2 January, 2014 at 12:11 pm
    • Reply

    I’ve had my share of struggles with the First on the First challenges but they’ve all been SO worth it in the end! This time, thankfully, Sticky Toffee Pudding was a genius pick, and so delicious. I love how you put these in individual portions, which was very smart. I can’t wait to see everyone’s recipes for the steamed buns!

  4. it looks delicious!

  5. Your sticky toffee pudding is gorgeous! Love the addition of the ginger and golden syrup!

  6. my goodness this looks amazing. i wish i was eating it NOW!

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