Sticky toffee pudding

Sticky toffee pudding, also known as sticky date pudding in Australia and New Zealand, is a British dessert consisting of a moist sponge cake, made with finely chopped dates (optional), covered in a toffee sauce and often served with a vanilla custard or vanilla ice-cream.[1] It is considered a British classic by various culinary experts.[2]

Sticky toffee pudding
Alternative namesSticky date pudding
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Region or stateDisputed; popularized in Cumbria
Main ingredientsSponge cake, dates, toffee


A sticky toffee pudding has two essential components. The first is a moist sponge cake, containing finely chopped dates.[3] The sponge is usually light and fluffy, closer to a muffin consistency rather than a heavier traditional British sponge, and is often lightly flavoured with nuts or spices such as cloves.[3][4] The date component is, however, optional. The second key element is the toffee sauce, usually made from double cream and then different dark sugars, depending on recipe.[4]

A sticky toffee pudding is most commonly served with custard or vanilla ice cream, the vanilla flavour of these complimenting the richer flavours of the pudding.[4] It may also be served with single cream.


The origins of sticky toffee pudding are disputed. Owners of several pubs, including the Gait Inn in Millington, East Riding of Yorkshire (claimed to 1907) and the Udny Arms Hotel in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire (1960s), claim to have invented it.[5]

The pudding was popularised in the 1970s by Francis Coulson and Robert Lee, who developed and served it at the Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel in Cumbria[6][7] The food critic Simon Hopkinson said Coulson told him he received the recipe from a Patricia Martin of Claughton in Lancashire,[8] and that Martin had received this from Canadian air force officers who lodged at her hotel during the Second World War.[8][3]


  1. "Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe - OAKDEN". 12 July 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  2. Grant, Richard E. "Sticky toffee pudding". BBC. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  3. MacEacheran, Mike. "The contentious origins of England's famous pudding". BBC. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  4. Cloake, Felicity (14 April 2011). "How to cook perfect sticky toffee pudding". Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  5. Davis, Jassy. "Will the real sticky toffee pudding please stand up?". Love Food. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  6. "Puddings: how they have changed through history". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2018
  7. "The First Sticky Toffee Pudding - Luxury Lake District Hotel". Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  8. Hopkinson, Simon (17 February 2008). "Simon Hopkinson updates the classic sticky toffee pud". Retrieved 12 December 2017.
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