Sticky Date Pudding Cake with Toffee Sauce

  • Serves: Makes one 8- or 9- x 2-inch square pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 375
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  • Comments: 5

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Sticky date pudding is a British dessert (or pudding) consisting of a very moist cake (originally a steamed sponge cake), made with finely chopped dates or prunes, covered in a luscious and rich toffee sauce and often served with vanilla ice cream or a custard. It is also delicious with a large dollop of whipped cream.  It was originally called "icky sticky toffee sponge." This recipe is adapted from Gourmet Magazine, May, 1998 Issue.

The dessert's origins are considered a "mystery" according the gastronomic journal, Saveur; however the dominant story is that Francis Coulson developed and served this dessert at his Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel in the Lake District in 1960. It has been stated by Coulson's former protégé and chef, Juan Martin, that Coulson hinted that the original concept for the dessert was derived from a farm wife in Lancashire.

However it was also found that the Landlady of The Gait Inn, Millington invented it in 1907 and was then sold in the pub much to everyone's delight. In any case, Coulson introduced and refined the dessert to the general public making his recipe completely accessible to all those who asked.

A final story regarding the origins of the dessert involves The Udny Arms Hotel in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire. The hotel has claimed that it invented the pudding for years, and it is true that, if you ask almost anyone from the surrounding area, they will cite the hotel as the birthplace of the dish.

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