A classic British treat, this easy sticky date pudding recipe is a crowd favorite for dessert, afternoon tea, or to top off a holiday feast. Most importantly, this easy sticky date pudding recipe doesn't need a lot of ingredients to make. Perfect for an impromptu baking project!
Easy Sticky Date Pudding Recipe
This deliciously easy sticky date pudding recipe can be made as one cake or as individual servings. I'll give you step-by-step instructions for both methods below.
Is Sticky Toffee Pudding the Same as Sticky Date Pudding?
Sticky date toffee pudding and sticky date pudding are the same delicious dessert. Both puddings are sponge cakes made from chopped-up dates and served with a gooey sauce. These perfect date desserts are often served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Recipe for Sticky Date Pudding
- 220g (8 oz) pitted dates, roughly chopped - dates are what makes sticky date pudding, well, sticky! They add lots of flavor and lends that ooey-gooey texture that we all love so much. So if you are not a fan of dates as a snack, believe me, you will love them in this easy sticky date pudding recipe.
- 1 teaspoon baking soda / bi-carb soba - this is the raising agent for the cake.
- 1 cup boiling water
- ⅓ cup firmly packed brown sugar - this ingredient helps give the easy sticky date pudding recipe that signature dark brown color and that caramel-y taste. I like dark brown sugar, but regular brown sugar also works well. Whichever you use, do not substitute with regular white sugar if you want to emulate the consistency and aroma that we love in a classic sticky date pudding recipe.
- 80g / ¾ stick unsalted butter, room temperature - bringing your butter to room temperature is essential because we need to be able to beat it into a smooth consistency. Hard butter will make it almost impossible to cream.
- 2 eggs - just like the butter, firstly bring your eggs to room temperature.
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract - in my opinion, vanilla is one of those ingredients that will always add an extra oomph to your baked goods, even in non-vanilla recipes! It gives a subtle note of sweetness and added complexity to your recipe, even if it is ultimately not your prominent flavor.
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (plain flour) - use regular all-purpose flour. This recipe would also work with gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed - brown sugar is what differentiates butterscotch sauce and caramel sauce. I think that butterscotch sauce is a lot easier (and safer!) to make because it doesn't involve browning the sugar to a high heat. Read further in this article for everything you need to know about the difference between butterscotch sauce and caramel sauce!
- ½ cup thickened cream - also known as heavy cream, heavy whipping cream, or even just whipping cream in the United States and the UK. It is what gives butterscotch its addictive richness.
- 80g / ¾ stick butter - if you use unsalted butter, you can add a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness of this sticky date pudding sauce.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Easy Sticky Date Pudding Recipe - Step-by-Step Instructions
- Preheat oven and prepare pan: Before mixing the ingredients, preheat your oven to 350°F | 180°C. Lightly grease a baking pan with cooking spray, oil, or butter and line it with baking or parchment paper. I think a 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20cm) square pan works best for the thickness we're looking for in this easy sticky date pudding recipe.
- Prepare dates: Mix the chopped dates, bi-carb/baking soda, and boiling water in a heatproof bowl, and let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow the dates to soak. After the dates have soaked up the water, mash them well with a fork until mushy. This is an essential step in achieving the right sticky pudding consistency.
- Cream butter and sugar: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until creamy. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and combine.
- Add dry ingredients: Add the flour and baking powder and fold them into the batter using a spatula to prevent over-mixing. Finally, add in the softened date mixture and stir until incorporated.
- Bake: Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan, smooth the surface with your spatula, and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake center.
- Make the sticky date pudding butterscotch sauce: Place the brown sugar, cream, butter, and vanilla in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Keep stirring until the sugar and butter have completely melted, and simmer for 3 minutes. If you want a thicker sauce, let it cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
- To serve: Cut a square slice of the date pudding cake and drizzle it with a generous amount of butterscotch sauce. It is best to serve both the sticky date pudding and the sauce while they're warm. Enjoy!
Individual portions are a great way to present this decadent easy date dessert, especially if you're entertaining a group of people. To make individual puddings, you can use all sorts of heatproof containers, such as muffin trays and ramekins, to pudding molds.
- Prepare all the ingredients and preheat the oven as per the instructions above; instead of a square pan, grease the individual molds. This easy sticky date pudding recipe will make approximately 7 individual sticky date puddings.
- Divide the batter into each mold/muffin tray; ensure to only fill until ¾ way up at the most to prevent overflowing. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick/skewer comes out clean.
- When ready to serve, remove the puddings from the molds and transfer them onto a serving plate; pour the warm sauce over the individual puddings.
- Baking vs steaming sticky date pudding recipe - Steaming is a preferred way of making steamed date pudding in the UK and Ireland. It ensures that the easy sticky date pudding recipe is incredibly moist. To make, steam the cake in your preferred mold in a pot of simmering hot water over low-medium heat for about 1 to 2 hours (depending on the mold size) until the date steamed pudding is firm to the touch.
- Do I need an electric mixer to make this recipe for sticky date pudding? - Although it makes the process much easier, you don't need an electric mixer to make this recipe. Like other cake recipes involving creaming butter, you can use a balloon whisk and some elbow grease.
- How to prevent my sticky date pudding recipe from coming out dry - If your date pudding cake is coming out dry, it may be caused by an oven that's too hot or a cooking time that's too long. Always check that your oven is set to the right temperature and always use the oven timer.
Butterscotch Sauce vs Caramel Sauce
The main difference is the types of sugar used:
- butterscotch sauce - made with brown sugar
- caramel sauce - made with white granulated sugar
Butterscotch sauce - brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and butter all melted and cooked together.
Caramel sauce - white sugar that is heated and melted until it is golden brown. If needed, you can add water, cream, or milk to thin the consistency.
Easy Sticky Date Pudding Recipe - Date Substitutes
What Can I Substitute Dates with in Sticky Date Pudding Recipe?
Although the dates are what give the easy sticky date pudding recipe its iconic sticky texture and sweetness, you can still make it if you're out of dates. Dried prunes, figs, or raisins are the best substitutes for dates.
Can I Use Prunes Instead of Dates in this Date Dessert?
Yes definitely. Prunes are the closest in texture and sweetness to dates and can be used as a substitute for dates in this sticky date cake.
Can I Use Medjool Dates in Sticky Date Pudding Recipe?
You can use any dates in this dates pudding cake, but Medjool dates work best due to their softness and sweet caramel-y taste.
Sticky Dates Pudding Recipe - Variations
This recipe is a classic dessert that is beloved for its simplicity. Regardless, there's always room for creativity and improvement!
- Easy sticky date pudding recipe with warm spices - make this sticky date pudding recipe suited for the holiday season by adding warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, or even orange zest for a warm kick.
- Easy sticky date pudding recipe using palm sugar and coconut cream - to give this pudding recipe an Asian twist, substitute brown sugar with palm sugar and thickened cream with coconut cream. Guaranteed to completely transform your sticky date pudding recipe without sacrificing the stickiness!
Easy Sticky Date Pudding Recipe - Add-Ins
- Date Nut Pudding - I think the caramel flavor in this easy sticky date pudding recipe goes great with types of nuts such as walnuts or pecans. Fold in ½ cup of chopped nuts in the last step of the mixing.
- Berries - My favorite add-in to just about any baked goods: berries! Add a few sliced strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries to your date dessert recipe to give a refreshing tartness and a pop of color to this sweet dessert.
- Chocolate chips - I mean, who doesn't love some chocolate? Fold in ½ cup of chocolate chunks or chips into the batter just before pouring the batter into the pan. Experiment with milk, semi-sweet, or even white chocolate. Sprinkle an additional ¼ cup of choc chips over the top of the batter just before baking.
- Sticky toffee pudding recipe without dates - Rather than a recipe 'Add-In' take out the dates! This recipe will still taste delicious without the addition of dates. Just ensure that you increase the amount of brown sugar to balance the omission of the sweet dates.
What to Serve with this Old Fashioned Date Pudding Recipe
- Vanilla Ice cream - I think a scoop of vanilla ice cream is hands down the best combo to serve with this date pudding cake. Its coolness is an excellent contrast with the warm pudding and sauce. Make sure you get a good quality vanilla ice cream with natural vanilla.
- Clotted cream - Clotted cream is a thick cream made by heating full-fat milk until it fully thickens. It is incredibly rich and almost resembles butter. Clotted cream is a traditional pairing for a sticky date pudding recipe.
- Whipped cream - A lighter option would be whipped cream, either sweetened or left unsweetened. I usually whip my cream, but in a pinch, I think store-bought whipped cream is the second-best thing for this easy sticky date pudding recipe.
- Custard - Delicious homemade custard also works well with this pudding. My favorite is a chai-flavored custard with the sweet spices of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
- Brown bread ice cream - this delicious caramel-y tasting homemade brown bread ice-cream is a delicious pairing with this date pudding.
Easy Sticky Date Pudding Recipe FAQs
What is Sticky Toffee Pudding?
Many different names can refer to this one cake, including Sticky Toffee Date Cake, Sticky Toffee Cake with Dates, Date Sticky Toffee Pudding or even Sticky Date Pudding, as per this recipe! They are all the same delicious date pudding cakes.
What's in a Sticky Toffee Pudding?
Sticky toffee pudding is a sponge-style cake that features dates and is served with a delicious warm sauce.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Sauce Vs Sticky Date Pudding Sauce
These sauces use the same ingredients: brown sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla. They are the same sauce, just with a different name. If the pudding is called Sticky Date Pudding, the sauce will be known as sticky date pudding sauce. If the pudding is known as Sticky Toffee Pudding, the sauce will be called sticky toffee pudding sauce.
Is Butterscotch Sauce and Toffee Sauce the Same?
Butterscotch and toffee sauce are both made from the same base of brown sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla essence. Often the names of these two sauces are used interchangeably.
How Long Will Sicky Date Pudding Recipe Keep?
How do you Keep Sticky Date Pudding Recipe Fresh?
- Room temperature - you can keep the sticky date pudding cake or individual servings in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. I like to keep the butterscotch sauce in the fridge as it does contain cream.
- Fridge - although I doubt you'll have any leftovers, this pudding recipe keeps so well in the refrigerator and can last up to 7 days. To reheat, heat individual servings of the pudding in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Can I Freeze Sticky Date Pudding?
Yes! Frozen date pudding cake can last up to 3 months in the freezer, which makes it a great make-ahead dessert! Before freezing, make sure both pudding and sauce cool completely. Chop the cake into individual pieces so you can just take out what you need. Transfer the cake and sauce to two different air-tight containers.
To reheat, thaw completely and heat individual pudding serving in the microwave, in 30-second bursts, until warm. To heat the sauce, place it in a small saucepan and warm slowly over low heat.
Serve the warm sticky date pudding on a plate and drizzle over the heated butterscotch sauce.
Can you Eat Sticky Date Pudding Cold?
You can eat sticky date pudding cake cold, but it is best enjoyed warm. If you don't serve the baked pudding straight away, store it in the fridge or freezer and reheat it when you are ready. Tip - store the butterscotch sauce separately and reheat on low in a saucepan on the stovetop.
Can Sticky Date Pudding be Reheated?
You can reheat this date pudding very easily. Pop a serving of the cake in the microwave, in 30-second bursts, until just warm. Place the butterscotch sauce in a small saucepan and heat up gradually on low heat. Serve together by drizzling the sauce over the cake and adding a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream!
Easy Sticky Date Pudding Recipe
- 1 Baking Pan 8 x 8 inch | 20 x 20 cm
- Or, 7 individual pudding molds
- 220 g pitted dates, roughly chopped 8 oz
- 1 teaspoon baking soda / bi-carb soda
- 1 cup boiling water
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 80 g unsalted butter, room temperature ¾ stick butter
- 2 eggs room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
Sticky Date Pudding Sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ cup thickened cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 80 g butter, unsalted ¾ stick butter
- Preheat oven to 350°F |180°C. Grease an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20cm) cake pan and line with parchment paper.
- Place dates, bi-carb, and boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes to soak. Then mash well with a fork until the date mixture is soft and mushy.
- Place the butter and sugar In a separate bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Using a spatula, fold in by hand the flour and baking powder. Add the date mixture and fold through until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 minutes.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the sauce. Combine the sugar, cream, butter, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir continuously until the sugar and butter have melted, and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside.
- The cake is cooked once a skewer is inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Serve individual slices of the cake with a generous helping of the butterscotch sauce.
- Follow the instructions above, but instead grease individual pudding molds. Pour the mixture evenly into each mold. Bake for 20 –25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into pudding comes out clean.
- Once cooked place one individual pudding onto a plate and serve with the warm sauce.
- Dairy-free option - substitute in plant-based butter and cream.
- Vegan option - also replace the eggs with a vegan powdered egg substitute.
- One cake vs individual puddings - refer to the step-by-step instructions above for both options.
- Sugar - only use brown sugar in this recipe. You will not get the same result with white sugar.
- Room temperature butter - butter straight out of the fridge will be difficult to cream, and you won’t get a smooth consistency.
- Room temperature eggs – make sure that your eggs are also brought out of the fridge so that they become room temperature. Approximately 30 minutes beforehand is sufficient.
- Thicker sauce – if you prefer a thicker butterscotch sauce, let the sauce simmer for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. The sauce will also thicken up as it cools down.
- Electric mixer vs whisk – it is possible to use a hand-held whisk if you don’t have an electric mixer.
- Dry cake – don’t overcook the cake or have the temperature higher than recommended.
- Date substitutes – you can substitute the dates for prunes, figs or raisins but I recommend sticking with dates for the best flavor profile.
- Baking vs steaming – Put the cake in a pudding steamer and place in a saucepan. Add enough boiling water that it comes up halfway up the side of the steamer. Bring to a boil and then place on low to simmer for 1 hour for individual puddings and 2 hours for one large pudding. Note: you may need to top up the water.
Easy Sticky Date Pudding Recipe - Conclusion
Simple to make yet incredibly rich and decadent, this easy sticky date pudding recipe is my go-to for the ultimate warm dessert craving. A must-try for anyone who has a weakness for anything caramel-y!