The traditional sticky date and toffee pudding with a gluten and dairy-free makeover, and as a cake!

Sticky toffee pudding is a British steamed dessert, consisting of a very moist sponge cake, made with finely chopped dates, covered with a toffee sauce and often served with a vanilly custard or vanilla ice cream.  In Australia, this is known as sticky date pudding, and is considered a modered British classic, up there with bread pudding (see here for my version).

I found this recipe so many years ago, and every time I’ve made it, the family has loved it.  Hands down.  Even Abby, who hates anything with dates.  She will go back for seconds.  That shows you just how awesome this cake is.  I have never tried to make the traditional steamed pudding, but found this cake is so easy.  And it converts really well with gluten and dairy-free substitutes – even the toffee sauce.  Just let it sit for a few hours before serving to let it thicken up – it really doesn’t thicken on the stove-top.

This is a great cake for celebrations such as Christmas, or just because you want to have some cake.  So, you have my blessing to have your cake and eat it too!

Sticky toffee pudding cake

Servings 12


  • 1 3/4 cups finely chopped dates
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbs butter dairy-free if needed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/8 cups self-raising flour gluten-free if needed
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbs butter dairy-free
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk use coconut evaporated milk for dairy-free
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 175 deg C.
  2. In a small bowl combine the dates and baking soda. Pour enough boiling water over the dates to just cover them.
  3. Cream the 1/4 cup + 1 tbs butter with the white sugar until light. Beat in the eggs and mix well to combine.
  4. Add the flour and date mixture (including water) to the egg mixture and fold to combine. Pour the batter into one 8" round baking pan.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Let cool, slice and serve with warm caramel sauce.
  6. To make caramel sauce;
  7. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla and 1/4 cup + 1 tbs butter. Cook over medium heat and bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use immediately.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from