Cartmel Style Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe.

A Cartmel style Sticky Toffee Pudding is a modern British classic recipe, featuring sticky dates and a wonderful caramel sauce it is a pudding lovers dream.

Portrait image of a steaming hot caramel sauce being poured over a sticky toffee pudding topped with vanilla ice cream

A Modern British Classic.

First of all, I cannot claim this recipe in any way shape or form and I can’t really attribute it to anyone either. That is because it was scribbled on a piece of paper stuffed in the back of a cookery book I bought at a second-hand store.

However it is a recipe like many of mine born out of memories. When I married my wife we kinda ran away to Gretna Green with a small group of friends and family.

We threw our wedding reception for a coupe of hundred people the week after.

On the way home we made a pitstop and spent a few days staying in a cottage right opposite the Cartmel village shop. The spiritual home of sticky toffee pudding.

Many assume this recipe to be far older than it actually is. It was originally developed in 70’s by Francis Coulson.

I love it because it reminds me of childhood, just like my other favourite desserts, rice pudding and Bakewell tart.

Portrait overhead image of a sticky toffee pudding topped with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream

Cooking Advice.

This recipe is extremely easy to cook, it is however time consuming!

We often make a link with things that take time and them being difficult. This really is not the case, we are just becoming increasingly time poor.

The first thing to note is that if you are from the US and you have found your way here then you will have no idea what black treacle is.

It is largely the same as a medium molasses, as far as I can ascertain.

Just like making muffins it is important that you do not overwork the mix. Just bring it all together with a spoon and you are good to go.

The making of the caramel sauce is where things can go wrong.

The only failures I have had when making this is when I have stopped stirring the sauce in the initial phase. When I do the failure rate is 50%!

Once you have a silky smooth sauce then it is important to remove it from the heat before adding the final two ingredients.

Portrait image of a sticky toffee pudding topped with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream

Serving and Storing.

This is a bog dessert for someone cooking for two. However every attempt I have made to scale down this recipe has been disappointing.

The good news is that it freezes wonderfully. I cut this into 8 equal slabs and place in those disposable foil oven trays.

I pour over a little sauce and then freeze. To reheat you simply place in an oven covered with foil at 150°C or 300°F for 40-50 minutes.

Whip up some more caramel sauce and serve.

There is an ongoing debate as to how to serve this rib sticking dessert. Is it ice cream or custard? 

I firmly fall on the side of ice cream!

Those that say custard are forbidden permission to cook my recipe! Just kidding… or am I?

I personally love the contrast between a hearty warm dessert and sweet cold ice cream.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Not to be confused with a cake, Sticky Toffee Pudding is an old school rib stickingly wonderful English Dessert from the 1970's whose spiritual home is the Cumbrian village of Cartmel.


For the Pudding

  • 250 g Dates
  • 175 ml Boiling water
  • 1 Vanilla Pod, Seeds Only
  • 100 g Softened Butter
  • 150 g Muscavado Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 2 Tbsp Black Treacle
  • 100 ml Full Fat Milk
  • 175 g Plain Flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

For the Caramel Sauce

  • 50 g Butter
  • 150 g Muscavado Sugar
  • 200 ml Double Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Black Treacle


  1. Remove the stones and cut the dates into a 5mm dice.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the dates, stir in the vanilla seeds and allow to steep for an hour until cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°C.
  4. When cooled mash the dates with the back of a fork.
  5. Place the softened butter in a bowl and cream with brown sugar.
  6. Add the beaten eggs slowly into the sugar and butter mix.
  7. Mix together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a separate bowl.
  8. Slowly mix in the milk and flour, bicarb & Baking powder mix until a thick dough is formed, do not over mix, you want to just bring the ingredients together.
  9. Finally mix in the dates and black treacle.
  10. Line a baking tray with baking parchment (25cm x 18cm).
  11. Pour in the mix and bake for 60-75 minutes.
  12. For the sauce heat the butter, sugar and half of the cream over a medium high heat until a sauce is achieved, stir continuously.
  13. Stir in the Black treacle and the rest of the cream.
  14. Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 829Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 346mgCarbohydrates: 143gFiber: 3gSugar: 120gProtein: 7g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

48 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. OMG this dessert is one of my top three all time favourites. So delicious… sweet…..just divine. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! I would eat this for breakfast right now LOL!!!

  2. Those pictures are amazing! Looking at the ingredients this is definitely a really gooey sticky one and one of my husband’s favourite. I’ll have to try this but it will be custard sorry!

  3. Hello, I was wondering if I can make this in individual pudding basins?

    Btw, it’s really a winner! This recipe I mean.
    Super easy to make too!


    • Thanks Reem… You certainly could make this in individual pudding moulds although the cooking time will vary and as I have not done it I can’t give you a steer. The biggest influence would be the depth of the mix and the diameter of the bowls, but you can keep an eye on it and test with a cocktail stick as you go, as you know the texture you are looking for it should not be too challenging.

      Would love to hear how you get on, have fun!

  4. Hi Brian. Really looking forward to making this for Christmas. Can u let me know how deep the baking 25cms x 18cms tray needs to be? I’ve got one that is 2cms, is this ok? Great blog and photos. My best, Colin

    • Hi Colin… 2 cm may be a little shallow, you will probably get the mix in there but there is a little rise in the cake as is bakes although not much, the pan I use is 5cm deep although it is ‘overkill’ in terms of depth. I hope you can find something that works for you and that you enjoy the pudding 😀

  5. I am not seeing where the 2 tbs of treacle gets added in the pudding portion of the recipe. I am drooling for this so i don’t want to get it wrong!

  6. When I think of the word “pudding” this is not what comes to mind… but boy does this look delish! Is that maybe because of the culture difference? I’m definitely going to have to make this ASAP!

    • Yes there are a whole host of things that British people refer to as ‘pudding’ that are both sweet and savoury… This dates back hundreds of years however pudding is typically a name for a sweet dish, although there are a few examples of savoury puddings that exist.

  7. Yessss. I’m drooling over this picture. But I’m so confused over the fact that this is basically a brownie called a pudding haha. Welcome to the dessert side 😉

    • Haha, this is grounded in recipes that date back to the 18th century although this is baked rather than steamed as its forefathers would have been… I quite like the dessert side, just not too often, I’m still a savoury dude at heart 😉

  8. You have no idea the willpower it took not to make this recipe immediately. I’ve had this a few times, stooped to buying the store bought stuff once, and yet never tried to make it at home. It’s so good. Perhaps one day I’ll give this recipe a go, when I have company coming to eat it all with me so there are no leftovers and I don’t reason that the dates make it an appropriate breakfast the next morning.

    • Teehee, I don’t have much will power in most senses but can quickly get overwhelmed with sugar so I don’t find it too difficult to set this aside… It freezes perfectly and it is almost better after defrosted and heated in the oven as the sauce that it is steeped in gets deeper and the crispy bits on the sides are to die for!

  9. This is one of my favorite desserts. I consider it a winter dessert (though I’m not exactly sure why) and the pinnacle of comfort food desserts. I like to make mine with a layer of freshly-candied kumquats on the bottom. I don’t serve it with any accompaniment besides the sauce, though. But at least that means no custard!

    • I’m with you on this being a winter dessert, despite the fact that I like it with ice cream… I love the hot and icey cold sweet combination, interesting idea to add more fruit to the bottom, may have to give that a try.

  10. Hi Brian, I came across this post from the Facebook FBC Recipe Sharing group. I am absolutely in love with your photography, especially the first photo with the hot steam and the sultry sauce. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you take that photo? What where your camera settings?

    • Hi Lily… Glad you like my ‘stuff’ aint no secrets here so happy to share my process although my lighting set up is probably more relevant to the outcome of this shot rather than the camera settings. But here goes.

      Camera: 50mm, F7.1, ISO 100, 1/100th

      Lighting Single 60cm x 80cm softbox, 1.5m (ish) away from the source to the left and a little behind the subject. Large reflector to the right front to reflect back on to the front of the pudding.

  11. I love to read your blog Brian! This looks amazing, and this non sweet eating girl may just have to make it! Thanks for posting 🙂

    • Thanks Tamara, glad you like my wee corner of the interweb… I’m with you on not really having a sweet tooth, but on occasions I do like a little bit of a blow out and this certainly fills that category!

  12. Now I’m going to have to make this because I can’t get your awesome photo of that toffee and chocolate out of my head! I love the fact that you use Molasses – and the ice cream on top is such a bonus 🙂

    • Thanks Paige, it is one of those ‘special’ dishes I don’t make too often but it is always a great hit when ever I do… I actually use black treacle which is a little different to molasses but has a very similar flavour and it adds that wonderful dark and bitter hint to the sponge and the toffee sauce 🙂 Enjoy!

  13. Oh wow, this looks super decadent! All that stickiness and dripping – I’m totally drooling! I’ve heard of this classic dessert but never made it before and that must change. (Also, I’m with you on pairing it with ice cream.) YUM!

    • Thanks Kathryn, if a baking ‘phobe’ like me can cope with making this dish I am sure you will be fine, it really is exactly what it says on the side of the tin, sweet and sticky and a delight 😀

  14. I love love LOVE this, it looks awesome! Don’t hate me, but I like both custard and ice cream on mine – there’s no holding me back!
    You did a good job shooting these quickly too, I’m impressed, the photos are gorgeous too

    • Thanks Michelle, I am reeling at the idea of custard AND ice cream a whole new subset of people that are quite frankly wrong teehee :p


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