When I was asked to cook a sticky toffee cake for a friends birthday a few years ago I was disappointed. After eating an awful sickly sweet, store-bought sticky toffee pudding once (yano, the ones that you heat in the microwave), I was put off and always avoided if it was ever on offer. From this, I had never attempted to make one but after looking up a recipe I thought to myself ‘how hard can it be?’
Enter the age of sticky toffee obsession. I was so impressed with it I couldn’t believe I had denied myself years of sticky toffee goodness. Since then, many many sticky toffee cakes have been made and it is this recipe that has always gone down so well with friends. This cake is light but with deep, rich flavours, so if you are after a classic recipe to keep for years to come, then my friends you have found it.
Adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks, The Paris Pastry Club, this has been my go too sticky toffee pudding recipe for a couple of years now. As soon as I turned dairy free I was keen to recreate it but I was concerned about the toffee sauce as most dairy-free recipes use coconut milk as a thickener. I didn’t want the taste of coconut tarnishing the beauty that is a sticky toffee pudding so instead, cornflour and black treacle are use to make this sticky sauce. While it may seem as if it will never thicken, be patient and give it time to thicken as it cools before drenching your sponge and devouring it all up.
- 225g chopped dates
- 100ml dairy-free milk (such as almond or soy)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 115g dairy-free butter (such as flora freedom spread)
- 170g soft light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 170g self raising flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the toffee sauce:
- 300ml dairy-free milk (such as almond or soy )
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 80g dairy free butter chopped into cubes (such as stork baking block)
- 100g dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp treacle
- Preheat the oven to 180oc and grease and line a 20cm round loose-bottom cake tin or two 20cm sandwich tins
- Put the chopped dates into a saucepan along with the dairy free milk milk and 100ml water. Bring to a simmer and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. Leave to cool slightly then add the bicarb. Leave to cool completely.
- Beat the sugar and butter together then add the eggs followed by the dates, vanilla and finally fold in the flour
- Spoon the mix into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until firm to the touch (or 25-28 minutes if using two sandwich tins!)
- Once baked, leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin then remove the tin and leave to cool completely before pouring over the sauce
- Whilst the cake is cooking, make the toffee sauce. Begin by mixing the cornflour in a small dish with a couple of tablespoons from the milk. Make sure there are no lumps
- Pour all of the ingredients into a medium size saucepan (including the cornflour mixture) and bring to a boil, stirring frequently
- Reduce to a simmer and simmer, stirring frequently for about 20-25 minutes until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Don’t worry if it doesn’t thicken completely, it will thicken as it cools.
- Leave to cool slightly, then pour over the toffee sauce.