Mid-Century Brit – Sticky Toffee Pudding

Several years ago Dan and I went to Scotland. We loved every minute of it from the breathtaking scenery, to the great museums and historic sites, to the locally sourced well-prepared meals.

The British Isles have long had a reputation for not being a culinary mecca. But that’s changed for sure. We were impressed with how, unlike in America, the food was not industrialized. The restaurants prided themselves on their locally sourced food. And it really showed. We only had one bad meal in Scotland – and boy was it a whopper!

But the favorite part of our dinners was dessert. We became addicted to Sticky Toffee Pudding. As much as we vowed we would eat something else for dessert, we always shared a Sticky Toffee Pudding. On our return to the states we vowed we’d make it. But never did – until this Christmas.

Yep, for Christmas dinner we didn’t have our usual Christmas Plum Pudding, nor a pumpkin pie. We had Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. And it was delicious!

The history of the pudding dates to post war Britain when rationing was still going on and desserts like this were still a treat. According to Jane Grigson in her cookbook, English Food, Francis Coulson invented the dessert in 1948. He served it in his country house hotel at Sharrow Bay on Ullswater.

Here’s her recipe and yes, you’ll have to weigh some things because this is a true English cookbook with no American equivalents. Some I was able to convert easily, others I just weighed.


  • 6 oz. dates (remove pits and chop)     
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 tbs. butter
  • 6 oz. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz. self-rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Grease a 7″ spring form pan with butter.

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Put dates in a pan and pour on 1/2 pint boiling water and bring water to another boil

Foaming action

Remove pan from stove and stir in baking soda (it will foam!) and let it stand

Cream butter and sugar

Mix in eggs one by one

Fold in the flour and mix

Stir in the dates with their juice

Add the vanilla flavoring

Pour into the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (test for doneness)

While the pudding cooked, I made the topping that creates the sticky toffee quality


  • 1 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 6 tbs whipping cream
  • 8 tbs. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all these ingredients together in a pan and slowly bring to a boil while stirring 

NOTE: This gets very hot. Stupidly after watching a You Tube video on making the pudding I saw someone stirring with a spatula. Needless to say my spatula began to melt into the sauce. Yes, I threw this away and started the sauce again!

What not to use - a plastic spatula

Simmer for about three minutes.

Poke holes using a chopstick or something like that in the cake top

Pour half the sauce over the cake and let it soak in

Serve the pudding warm with additional sauce that you can pour on

Why did we wait so long to make this? It was easy and so delicious. Hope you’ll try it!

One Response to “Mid-Century Brit – Sticky Toffee Pudding”

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  1. Bev says:

    Sounds good but we’ll probably not make it! Meg doesn’t like dates! Couldf dates be substituted for somethhing else?

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