Since London has moved into new restrictions for covid I’m not going home to my family so Christmas will be small with just me and my boyfriend. I wanted to come up with a dessert I could easily make to serve just the two of us for Christmas day. Most Christmas desserts are way too large to be a good option so I thought I’d small-batch a British classic – sticky toffee pudding!!
The cake batter is easy to make (just two bowls and some utensils, no mixers or anything like that!). It includes soaked dates, of course, which I mash up with a fork instead of blending. This way you end up with small chunks of dates throughout the cake which adds a nice variation in flavour and texture. The dates are soaked in black tea (I just used a Yorkshire tea bag) but you can soak them in boiling water if you don’t have tea.
To make two individual servings I baked the batter in a muffin tin, just filling two of the wells with batter. If you have little metal pudding basins, ramekins or even a couple of sturdy ceramic mugs, those will work too.
The toffee sauce is very simple to make too, no thermometer needed, as it relies on dark brown sugar for that caramelised flavour rather than actual caramelisation of the sugar. I like to make it without treacle in the cake/sauce as I find it can be a bit too strong a flavour but feel free to swap out some of the sugar in the cake/sauce for a bit of treacle if you want that deeper flavour.
The hot toffee sauce is poured over the warm cakes before serving and, if you like, you can drizzle on a bit more soy cream (or add a scoop of non-dairy vanilla ice cream).
Sticky toffee pudding without eggs or butter
As this is a vegan version, the cake uses oil to make it dairy-free and soaked oats to make it eggless! If you’d prefer to use eggs, you can switch the oats for 1/2 a beaten egg.
In the toffee sauce I used vegan butter (tub or block butter will work) and soy cream or oat cream. These are easy to switch for their non-vegan alternatives if you’d like.
Can it be made in advance?
Yes you can bake the cakes and make the sauce up to 2 days in advance. Just make sure you wrap the cakes up in a resealable bag and keep in an airtight container. Put the sauce into a lidded jar and keep in the fridge. Just reheat everything before serving (see below)
Can it be frozen?
Yes you can freeze the cakes as long as they’re cooled & wrapped tightly in a resealable bag. Let them defrost overnight at room temperature OR reheat in the oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes / microwave in 10 second bursts until warmed through.
How to reheat sticky toffee pudding:
For the cakes: unwrap the cakes and put onto a tray in the oven at 180C (350F) for 10 minutes (if fridge-cold) or 15-20 minutes (if frozen) or microwave in 10 second bursts until warmed through.
Sauce: Warm the sauce in a small pot on the stove (adding a little splash of water to loosen if needed) or remove the lid and microwave in 10 second bursts, stirring between bursts, until hot.
Sticky Toffee Pudding for 2 (vegan)
- 50 g pitted dates (weigh after pitting them)
- 100 g boiling water
- 1 English breakfast tea bag (optional)
- 2 tbsp porridge oats
- 50 g plain white flour
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar (/muscovado)
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 20 g vegan butter (block or tub)
- 3 tbsp dark brown sugar (/muscovado)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 4 tbsp soy cream or oat cream
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C non-fan (350°F fan/375°F non-fan) and grease two of the holes in a muffin tin with vegetable oil.
- Place the pitted dates, tea bag and oats into a small bowl. Pour over the boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes to soak. After they've soaked, remove the tea bag (squeeze it to get all the liquid out of it) and use a fork to mash up the dates as much as you can.50 g pitted dates, 100 g boiling water, 1 English breakfast tea bag, 2 tbsp porridge oats
- In a medium bowl mix the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Pour in the date mixture & oil . Stir to combine - don't overmix.50 g plain white flour, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Divide the batter between the two muffin holes - you should be able to fill them right to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen and, if you gently press the top of the muffins, they spring back.
- Gently loosen the cakes from the tin with a butter knife and tip them out onto a plate. Set aside.
For the toffee sauce (make this while the cake is baking):
- Combine the butter, sugar and salt in a small pot. Melt over a medium-low heat and, once fully melted, allow to bubble for 1 minute to melt the sugar. Next stir in the vanilla and cream then mix to combine and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.20 g vegan butter, 3 tbsp dark brown sugar, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 4 tbsp soy cream or oat cream
- Place each warm cake onto a dessert plate. Pour over the warm toffee sauce (and extra cream if you like). Eat!
Sourdough Pumpkin Bread (Vegan)
- 200 g (3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp) pumpkin puree* (SEE NOTES if using homemade)
- 150 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar*
- 90 g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- zest of 1 orange , finely grated
- 1/4 tsp fine table salt
- 150 g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard (100% hydration)
- 120 g (1 cup) plain white (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds/pepitas
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (350°F). Grease a 2lb loaf tin with some oil and line with a sling of baking paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, spices, orange zest and salt until smooth.200 g (3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp) pumpkin puree*, 150 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar*, 90 g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, zest of 1 orange, 1/4 tsp fine table salt
- Stir in the sourdough starter. Lastly, add the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Fold together until just combined.150 g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard, 120 g (1 cup) plain white (all-purpose) flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Pour the batter into your lined loaf tin. Sprinkle with the topping of light brown sugar and pumpkin seeds, if using.2 tbsp light brown sugar, 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds/pepitas
- Bake for 55-70 minutes– a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean. If the loaf looks like it's browning too much but is not cooked through yet, tent the top with foil for the last 20 minutes of baking.
- Allow to cool before removing from the tin, slicing & serving.