Vegan sticky toffee pudding

Vegan sticky toffee pudding

individual sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream

Sticky toffee pudding is our favourite British dessert. It’s very indulgent, rich and aromatic and it firmly belongs in winter. Each bite reminds me of my past London life. It takes me back to long Sunday walks in Hampstead Heath on sunny, winter days followed by a lunch in a cosy gastropub, a glass of red wine and a share (or whole if there was room) of sticky toffee pudding.

You would be forgiven for thinking that a pudding this rich isn’t an easy thing to veganise, but we found the opposite to be true. We replaced butter with good quality olive oil and because the sponge recipe feels like it could have had some Middle Eastern influence (dates, tea, muscovado sugar), olive oil seems to belong in this recipe.

Instead of eggs, we used unsweetened apple purée, which keeps the sponge moist and balances the sweetness of dates and sugar nicely. Acidity in the apples and baking soda leaven the cake so both functions of eggs (leavening and keeping the cake moist) have been taken care of in quite an uncomplicated way.

This moist aromatic sponge is delicious on its own with a mug of hot tea or coffee, but a drizzle of slightly salted toffee sauce and a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream take it to the next level. Try it, it won’t disappoint! Duncan, our cat Tina and myself are wishing you all a very merry Xmas!

 sticky toffee pudding cakes cooling

 sticky toffee pudding glazing

sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream duo

sticky toffee pudding portion

serves
6
PREP
30 min
COOKING
40 min
serves
6
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
40 min
INGREDIENTS

DATE AND CHAI SPONGE

  • 175 g / 1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1 teabag of chai (or English breakfast tea)
  • 80 ml light/mild olive oil
  • 50 g / 1/3 cup dark muscovado sugar
  • 50 g / scant ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 100 g / ½ cup of unsweetened apple purée* (from sour apples)
  • 100 ml almond milk
  • 175 g / heaped 1 and 1/3 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

TOFFEE SAUCE

  • 100 g / ½ cup sugar (I used brown, unrefined)
  • 120 ml / ½ cup + 60 ml / ¼ cup full fat coconut milk
  • a few pinches of salt
METHOD

DATE AND CHAI SPONGE

  1. Pour 150 ml (½ + 1/8 cup) of boiling water over the teabag, dates and baking soda. When the tea has brewed for 10 minutes, remove the teabag, add vanilla extract and mash the date mixture with a fork.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180° C / 355° F.
  3. Coat the inside of the 6 x 200 ml ramekins with olive oil and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir the olive oil, muscovado sugar and light brown sugar until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add the almond milk, apple purée and date mixture from step 1. Right now it will look way too much like a liquid – that’s okay, it’s the way it should look.
  6. Combine sifted flour and baking powder. Add them into the wet ingredients and stir until the mixture is smooth. Be careful not to overmix or else the sponge will end up heavy.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins (fill the ramekins two thirds full to allow room for rising) and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes (until the top is caramel brown).
  8. After removing from the oven, allow to cool for 20 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the ramekins and turning them over. They should come out easily.

TOFFEE SAUCE

  1. Spread an even layer of sugar at the bottom of a dry pan or pot. Heat up sugar on a medium heat (I used setting 3 out of 6). Refrain from stirring it, although if your pan has hot spots, you may need to gently manoeuvre unmelted sugar into a hot spot. Meanwhile, warm up ½ cup of coconut milk in a separate pot.
  2. Once all the sugar has melted, take the pan off the heat and slowly stir in warmed-up coconut milk. Be very careful as even though warming milk up minimises this, caramel may be splattering at this point and it will be very hot.
  3. There is a chance that once you add coconut milk, some of the caramel will harden into big lumps. What you need to do is to return the pan to the stove and set on a very low setting (I used 2 out of 6) to allow these lumps to melt away. Make sure you keep on stirring the mixture. Now, because the longer you cook your caramel sauce the more sticky and less sauce-like it will become, if you do need to bring it back to the stove to melt any stubborn lumps, add another ¼ cup / 60 ml of coconut milk to the pan to ensure that once your lumps have dissolved the caramel will retain sauce consistency. Do not panic if it appears to be too runny at first, caramel thickens as it cools down. If it does end up being too runny, you can always reduce it gently again.
  4. Finally, taste the caramel and season with enough salt to cut through the richness.

NOTES
*To make simple apple purée, simply peel and core two sour apples (we used Granny Smith variety) and pop into a small pot with a lid. Add a splash of water so that the apples do not catch on the bottom and simmer, covered, on a very low heat until they are falling apart soft. Blend in a blender or mash with a fork if you do not mind a slightly chunkier purée.

Date and chai sponge recipe has been adapted from this recipe.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
486
24%
sugars
56 g
62%
fats
17 g
25%
saturates
6 g
30%
proteins
5 g
9%
carbs
83 g
32%
*per pudding
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5.0
20 reviews, 42 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Maggie:
Hi Ania, I made this for the first time last Xmas and it's a lovely dessert. Thank you.
Had fun with the toffee sauce spluttering !!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Maggie! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it. Yes, splattering is hard to avoid with caramel. Thank you so much for taking the time to review, much appreciated. x Ania
Andy:
OMG. Warm, comforting sticky toffee pudding perfection. I've made this recipe for Christmas for the last four years. My non vegan father in law LOVES it! Since my Mother in law died five years ago, we try to bring a bit of home cooking comfort with us when we visit. This recipe is perfect for measuring out dry ingredients and mixing the wet just before baking. Essentially you can cook it easily in someone else's kitchen comfortably. I make a different toffee sauce because I'm slightly intimidated by hot sugar! This is the taste of family comfort food that everyone will love.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much Andy! I'm so happy to read that this recipe has been such a success and has put a smile on your non vegan father-in-law's face, how nice of you to bring him some comfort food. If you are not keen on making real caramel, I often make 'fake' one with almond butter (instead of peanut butter) and maple syrup (and some salt) and it works a treat too. Ania
Anyi:
Hi! I want to try this recipe so bad soon, but I don’t have many ramekins, do you think it’d work in 12 muffin tins?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Anyi,
    It should work provided your ramekins conduct heat well. This recipe also works in a 20 cm / 8" square baking tin. x Ania
Jax:
Is there any part of this that I could make ahead? Or should it be eaten fresh and hot?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jax,
    Yes, absolutely. In fact, the cake tastes better a day after it's been made as the flavours have had a chance to mingle and intensify. You can heat it up in a low oven (just make sure you put it in a dish with a lid so that it doesn't dry out) and the sauce can be reheated on the stove (just add a splash of water or plant milk if it needs loosening up a little). Hope this helps! Ania
Janine Warren:
Hi
I’m new to vegan cooking, your website has been a god send. Absolutely love it.
A couple of questions about the sticky toffee puddings )
1. What size ramekins should is use?
And
2. With regard to the olive oil. Should I use the light version or not?
Many thanks
Janine.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Janine,
    Thank you, I'm so glad that the website is coming in handy. The ramekins I used were 200 ml (just under the cup) in capacity and yes, light/mild olive oil is best. Hope this helps! Ania
Eben Figueiredo:
If its slightly soft or gooey in the middle is that ok? Think I should've left it in another 5 mins
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, it does sound like it needed to be baked for a touch longer. I'm sure you'll nail it next time! Ania
Cécile:
No no, in a normal glass, don't worry :) it's the milk itself that "exploded", my guess is that it became too hot just like normal milk, but it happened very quickly.
Thanks again xx
    Ania
    Ania:
    Phew...I did not grow up with or ever owned a microwave myself and one time, at work, I attempted to put something metal in one... Luckily there were people around and they yelled at me to take it out. I had no idea! x Ania
Cécile:
Thank you so much for this recipe, it was easy and delicious!! The sauce was my first caramel and with your explanation it went perfectly :)
a little warning though, if anyone else tries to microwave the coconut milk to save some time, like me: be careful! It blows up quite quickly and leaves you with a big mess to clean up xD
Cécile
    Ania
    Ania:
    So glad to hear that you enjoyed it, Cécile! I really do hope you didn't microwave your coconut milk in a metal can??? x Ania
Kirsty Gray:
Thanks so much for your quick response! I’m actually making it as a 4 layer reindeer cake for Christmas for a vegan friend so I’ll take your measurements into consideration in doing the 4 layers! Wish me luck! Merry Christmas!! 🥳🎄⭐️🤩💓
    Ania
    Ania:
    Sounds lovely, I hope you smash it! Good luck and Merry Christmas! x Ania
Kirsty Gray:
Hello! I’d like to make this but I’m an 8” round tin to make for a Xmas cake. Can you please tell me if this recipe would work in this size tin and if the cooking time would need to be adjusted at all?
Thanks so much and thanks for your awesome recipes!!
Kirsty
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Kirsty,
    I feel that 8" round tin may be on the small side so you won't need as much batter. Feels like 2/3 of the recipe should be enough if my calculations are correct. As for the baking time, I imagine you would need to increase it by about 10-15 minutes, but it is best to go by feel. Insert a toothpick after the cake has risen (approx. 40 minutes) to see if the cake has been cooked inside. Hope that helps! Ania
Reema Bhimjiyani:
Fabulous recipe xxx
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Reema! I'm really please use liked it! Ania
Janet L Kenworthy:
I made these for Christmas dessert and they were a big hit! Since I didn't have ramekins, I used a muffin tin and made 12 beautiful puddings. Unfortunately, the sauce didn't happen, but no one missed it.
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's great to hear, Janet! Thanks for letting us know! Ania
Natasha Cowan:
Hi Ania
I've been desperately looking for a good vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe to make for my brother for Christmas and so glad I've found this!
Just to clarify, if I have a fan assisted oven, should I cook the sponge at 160 degrees or is the 180 degrees in the recipe taking a fan assisted oven into account?
Also, if I make them a day or two before Christmas, will they keep okay until the day? And if so, how do you reheat them? :)
Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Natasha,
    I'm glad you are considering making this. We've never had anyone not like it, including non-vegans who had no idea this is any different to the omni version so I hope your brother will enjoy it too! I mean 180° C without a fan (if you only have a fan function the temperature should be 160° C). The should keep fine, just make sure they are in a sealed box so that they don't dry out. They will reheat well in a low oven covered with a piece of baking foil. Hope that helps! Ania
Annie:
I just made these to pop in the freezer as I have to work Christmas day. I gave one to my boyfriend and he said I should of made more. So easy to make and they turned out perfect.
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's great to hear, Annie! Out of curiosity - you seem to be pleased with the recipe yet you've given it 4 stars. May I ask why? The rating really helps us grow this blog! Thanks! Ania
Jordan:
How would I make this gluten free? thanks :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    I would swap out the flour for a gluten-free cake mix (something that contains various starches and maybe a little xantham gum) and that's it. It should hold up fine. Hope that helps! Ania
Dayna:
For the sauce,I take it that's coconut milk from a can from the cupboard and NOT the fridge? I always like to have a least one in each for the spur of the moment bakes!
thank you !
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Dayna,
    Yes, that's correct. The one from a cupboard (unchilled) is what is needed here. Hope you'll enjoy the end result! Ania
Charlotte:
Thanks for the quick response! That's good news! How much time did it take to bake?
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm so sorry, but I don't quite remember as it was a while ago, but I reckon about 35-40 minutes and then do the toothpick check to be sure it's not raw in the middle. Ania
Charlotte:
These are so good, I've made them loads of times, thank you!!! Could this be converted to a cake?? I wanted to use it as a birthday cake. Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Charlotte! Yes, absolutely, in fact we made them in a square 20 cm / 8" brownie tin for a family gathering and it worked well. Hope that helps! Ania
Julia:
I used this recipe the other day and it turned out so great! I loved the additional hint of coconut in the sauce and it was perfectly gooey in the middle. Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Julia! We're delighted to hear this!! :) Ania
Emily:
Hey, considering making this for a get together in a few days- is there a way you can make it without the dates?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Emily, perhaps use other dried fruit instead: prunes, sultanas or soft apricots. Ania
Patty:
What size cake tin would I use in place of the ramekins?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Patty,
    Something along the lines of 20cm x 30cm / 8in x 12in would be perfect. Hope that helps! Ania
Marieke:
These sticky toffee puddings are fabulous! Made it when my friends came over for an early Christmas dinner. All twelve of them loved these puddings and many asked for the recipe. Adjusted the recipe just a bit by adding about two extra tablespoons of both dark and light Demerara sugar and by adding some orange marmalade. We also added some (plant based) butter in the toffee sauce for a slightly creamier taste. Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thnaks Marieke! That's so nice to hear that the pudding was such a hit and your additions sound great, especially orange marmalade, nom nom! Ania
Melanie:
Do you think it would be fine to use coconut milk throughout, instead of almond milk? I have a friend that has a nut allergy, so I am hoping this could work!
Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Melanie,
    Yes, absolutely, just dilute it a little bit first as coconut milk (from a tin) tends to be richer / fattier and therefore thicker than almond milk. You could also use soy milk or oatly. I am sure all three will give you a good result. Hope that helps! Ania
Patty:
This was outstanding! Made some very minor adjustments to make it organic and gluten free. Love!!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Patty! That is lovely to hear!! x Ania
Unity:
Could i serve with vegan custard? also what is the dollop on top?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Unity,
    The dollop on top is my handmade vegan ice-cream. I haven't tried it with custard as I prefer the contrast between warm and cold, but it should also work. Why not? Ania
Charlotte:
These are so good! I've made it a few times now as cupcakes and it is always a big hit! Thank you so much for this and all other recipes!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Charlotte, that's so nice to hear! And thanks for taking the time to give us feedback too! x Ania
Gabby:
Do you think I could freeze the sticky toffee cake? I need to make something for Christmas in advance :) this looks super delicious
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Gabby,
    I'll be honest, I've never frozen any cake in my life ;) as they never last in my house but if you have, I don't see why this one would not work. It's one of these cakes that's moist and gets better with time so I don't think freezing it will impact the taste or texture.
    Hope that helps,
    Ania
Shennae Davies:
if you can't get muscovado sugar, what else can you use?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Shannae,
    This link provides a useful substitution:
    https://www.reference.com/food/can-substitute-muscovado-sugar-4996d198013660e#
    provided that you can get treacle!
    I hope that helps!
    Cheers,
jenn:
Winter in Melbourne, Aust. made your stick date toffee pudding, it was a easy to make and produced a great result. Thanks for your recipe. About to subscribe now.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay! Thanks Jenn! Duncan, who accidentally is also a Melbournian, will be so pleased to hear that as it's his recipe! Thanks so much for lovely feedback :)
    Ania
Chiara:
I recently came upon this website through @perezeats's Instagram account and I must say I'm absolutely in love! There are so many vegan recipes I never thought was possible... definitely trying some out! Also, can I substitute the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda for yeast? If not, what would you suggest as a substitution?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Chiara, thank you for a lovely comment. We're very happy you found our blog and chuffed to hear that you're planning to make some of my recipes! As for your question, I must say that I am unsure as to whether yeast would work in this recipe as it is typically used in breads and pastries, not cakes. Having said that, I read somewhere that yeast used to be used in cakes before the invention of chemical raising agents so you may be okay...I don't know of any substitutions which would 100% work, I'm afraid. Is there any particular reason you want to avoid both of these? Have you managed to bake a successful cake without them?
    Ania
Hiroo:
Recently discovered this wonderful website when looking for some inspiration for desserts - love the look and feel of the site.
Tried this sticky toffee pudding recipe - which was just gorgeous. Had the guests fighting for the extras - can't wait to have them again and to try out other recipes! Keep the recipes coming!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for such lovely feedback, Hiroo. It made our day!:) We are very glad that this recipe went down so well with your guests. We have plenty more recipes to share so stay tuned!
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