English Sticky Toffee Pudding, with a twist – tradition made new

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(English Sticky Toffee Pudding with Orange and Ginger – recipe in post)

Here in the states, if you ask for pudding you’re likely to get some sort of cold, gelatinous custard… but that is hardly the extent of what pudding is. Pudding can, technically, be most any dessert – from the classic rice or tapioca’s, all the way to dumplings, cakes, and trifles.

If you’ve never had sticky toffee pudding, imagine this: A moist little cake, packed full of chopped dates, and drenched in a flow of hot toffee sauce. Now that’s what I call pudding!

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(A huge hit with all of those lucky enough to steal a taste)

English Sticky Toffee Pudding is a fairly traditional dessert – one which I respect, and love as it is – but being the rebel that I am, I decided to put my own spin on things.

Enter: orange zest and candied ginger. These two flavors bring some serious pop to the old classic. Add a splash of Grand Marnier to the toffee sauce, and prepare to meet your new favorite dessert.

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(A melt-in-your-mouth pudding, for a melt-your-heart experience)

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Orange and Ginger
(Recipe adapted from Marie Simmons at The Food Network – this is the most authentic and best reviewed recipe I’ve found)
Makes 6 servings

1 cup + 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup pitted dates
1 cup +  2 TBSP boiling water
2 TBSP fresh orange juice (optional – if omitting the orange, replace with another 2 TBSP water)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)
1 TBSP orange zest (optional)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Toffee Sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
2-3 TBSP Grand Marnier (optional – or use rum, bourbon, or other liquor)

1 cup heavy cream, whipped (optional, for topping – can add a splash of liquor here, as well)


Thoroughly grease and flour a tray of mini bundt molds, or grease a 10-inch cake pan or baking dish. Preheat oven to 350f. (180c.).

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

Finely chop the dates. Place them in a bowl, add the baking soda, and pour over the boiling water and orange juice. Set aside.

Finely chop the ginger and zest the orange. Set aside.

Lightly beat together the egg and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat for 3-4 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat for another minute.
Reduce the speed of your mixer to low, and add the flour mixture in thirds, beating just until incorporated between each addition. Still on low speed, pour in the date mixture, ginger, and orange zest. Beat lightly until just barely combined.

Pour into your prepared cake pan or baking dish (if using molds, as I did, distribute batter evenly, filling each mold no more than 3/4 of the way full to leave room for rising).

Place on the center rack of your preheated oven, and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway through to ensure even baking. The cake(s) are done with the top(s) are firm and set, and spring back when gently touched.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving or removing from molds.

Toffee Sauce

In a heavy sauce-pan, combine butter, cream, and brown sugar over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sauce reaches a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring for another 8-10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. (If you aren’t sure the sauce is thick enough, drizzle a small amount on a cool plate and tip the plate to one side – this will give you an idea of how runny it will be once cooled).

Remove from heat, stir in the liquor, if using, and drizzle over finished cake(s).

Optionally, place cake(s) under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce begins to bubble. This will not only re-warm the cake, but will allow the sauce to sink in slightly.

Whip cream, if using, and serve alongside.

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33 Responses to English Sticky Toffee Pudding, with a twist – tradition made new

  1. Brandy Cross April 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    my boyfriend will die…

    • Willow April 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      I’m so sorry to hear that. ;)

    • Jen @ Juanita's Cocina April 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

      This made me laugh. Hard.

      Great job and beautiful pics, Willow!

      No one will die in this house, but someone may just be kissing my heiny after I make these!!!

    • Willow April 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      Haha – nice!

  2. mike@the culinary lens April 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Sticky pudding always put me in mind of the books I read as a kid Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five ( Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys would be the closest) and they always ate this kind of thing. Your addition of ginger I am sure adds a more sophisticated dimension

    • Willow April 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

      What a great memory to associate with English puddings!
      I am a big fan of ginger, and loved it here in combination with the richness of the dates and toffee sauce. :)

  3. Tya @ Note Etc. April 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    wouw.. drooling all the way.. I’m really into this.. very good idea to choosing orange for adding much flavor on it, I will asking some more, if you served it to me


    • Willow April 2, 2012 at 3:11 am #

      Thanks! I loved it with the orange – definitely worth of going back for seconds. :)

  4. The Mom Chef April 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    I love the idea of adding the crystallized ginger. I love the stuff. The English knew what they were doing with these sticky toffee puddings, that’s for sure. Many thanks for sharing your spin on things.

    • Willow April 2, 2012 at 3:11 am #

      That they did! Glad you liked the post. :)

  5. Carmen Anderson April 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    What a great recipe! They look absolutely delish! By the way, Willow, I really love your blog and all your amazing photos, and I am pleased to tell you that I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Please check out my latest post to receive your award! Have a great day! Carmen

    • Willow April 2, 2012 at 3:13 am #

      Thank you so much, Carmen! I’m so thrilled. :D

      Jen over at Jaunita’s Cocina nominated me for the award as well, I’ve just been very slow to write about it. I can’t wait to make it part of a post and pass the award on – thank you, again!

  6. MyFudo™ April 2, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    I really love the rosy effect…Looks so pretty to be eaten, but looks really mouth watering! Yummy!

    • Willow April 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      Thanks – mini bundt pans are so much fun!

  7. Jennie @themessybakerblog April 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    I’ve always wanted to try sticky toffee pudding, and this looks like a good recipe to try. Your photos are beautiful, and your toffee puddings look amazing.

    • Willow April 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

      Thank you! This recipe is definitely a winner, whether you use the orange and ginger or not. Definitely what I would go with on your first try – you’re sure to love it! :)

  8. Cara April 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Willow, this looks/sounds AMAZING! I love the idea of citrus and ginger in this. May I come over now for a bite??? :)

    • Willow April 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      Of course you may! I’ll have to whip up a second batch, but I’m sure no one around here would mind… :D

  9. Eating Local in the Lou April 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Well the kudos continue Willow- I also nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award, just posted my fav reads this morning. You really have an amazing talent! Keep up the great work :)

    • Willow April 2, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

      Wow – thank you so much!! I’m working on a post to accept the award now. I’m so flattered! :)

  10. Rodeo Bucket April 3, 2012 at 5:44 am #

    ooooo, toffee sauce with candied ginger… I should have waited to visit until morning. Now I am going to want to cook a late sweet. This looks divine! Came through from Carmen’s Kitchen.

    • Willow April 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      Haha – thanks! Isn’t Carmen great? :D

  11. Elpiniki April 3, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    Wow!! This look so delicious! Great presentation too, makes me want it NOW!!!
    I just found your blog and I loved it! Am a happy follower now! Hope to c u around!

    • Willow April 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Wow, thank you! Glad to have you as a reader. :D

  12. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes April 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    So amazing Willow (as always, do I ever expect less from you, no!) Loving the rose shaped puddings and the booze in the toffee- lovely!

    I really am considering moving in with stretchy pants in tow and park my behind on your couch with your Pup and eat all the amazing food you create.

    • Willow April 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      LOL – that would rock my world! And it reminds me… I was thinking I might try making this vegan next time. Will definitely let you know how that goes. ;)

  13. Kiri W. April 6, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Mmm, I love sticky toffee pudding! Your version looks gorgeous, I’d love to try it with orange! :)

    • Willow April 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      Thanks, you should try it – it was much loved!

  14. Moo Eleven April 12, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I love that people are taking on some English classics! Very delicious and BEAUTIFUL photographs! Moo x

  15. Tiffany April 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    You had me at dates and orange!

    • Willow April 14, 2012 at 1:40 am #

      Definitely a great combo. :)

  16. HereBeDragons September 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Looks delicious!

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