Is it just me or did January fly by alarmingly fast? This sticky toffee pudding was the dessert I made for my family's Christmas dinner way back in December. Being the woman with amazing taste that she is, my mom specially requested that I make it, and I was more than happy to oblige. I can't believe it has been over a month since my family and I were sitting around the table happily shoving forkfuls of this cake into our mouths and I am just getting around to posting it now. Sticky toffee pudding is one of those rich, indulgent desserts that is perfect for Christmas, but it also makes for great comfort food in these last lingering winter months. If you've never had sticky toffee pudding before, you may be surprised to discover that it is actually a cake dessert and not pudding. This is because it is British in origin, where the term "pudding" refers to cake. This sticky toffee pudding is a warm, buttery cake studded with gooey, sweet dates, topped with crunchy toasted pecans and generously coated in a rich toffee sauce (also best served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). The toffee sauce is very versatile and makes a great topping for ice cream on its own.
1 and 1/4 cups dried dates, pitted and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup boiling water
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature (plus extra for greasing the pan)
3/4 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Grease an 8x8" square baking pan with butter.
Toast the pecans by placing them on a baking sheet in the 350 degrees F oven or by heating them in a skillet over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Once they are toasted give them a rough chop.
Place the dates and baking soda in a glass or stainless steel bowl. Pour in the boiling water and stir to combine. Set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until softened. Add the brown sugar and continue to beat until it is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after eat addition. Gradually pour in the flour mixture and beat until combined.
With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold the dates and their liquid into the cake batter. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Use a wooden skewer or toothpick to poke holes all over the top of the cake. Pour about 1/2 cup of the prepared toffee sauce (recipe below) evenly over the cake so that it seeps into the holes.
Serve the cake warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a sprinkle of toasted pecans, and extra toffee sauce drizzled over top.
Toffee Sauce Ingredients:
3/4 cups light or dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Toffee Sauce Directions:
While the cake is baking, melt the brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the whipping cream and vanilla extract and heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the sauce has thickened.
Store leftover sauce in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator. Use as a topping for other cakes, ice cream, fruit, pancakes or crepes!
*Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking