Guest Blog: Lara – Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

I have been told many times of the glory of Sticky Date Pudding, but have never made it. With today’s post from Lara at Butterscotch Baker, she has given me a great recipe that I just have to try. Take a look at her blog and her post below…

The pudding that rules them all (Sticky Date Pudding)

While I have been baking for as long as I can remember, my passion really took off in year 11 when I did a catering course. Bake to get good grades? Okay, that sounds pretty easy, and delicious, to me. We were paired up and asked to pick a dessert.  After flicking through the mouth-watering photos that followed simple looking recipes in Women’s Weekly, we found it. An image of a thick golden cake soaked in butterscotch sauce. Sticky Date Pudding (SDP). I remember that we both weren’t very familiar with dates, so we thought we would substitute the dates for chocolate, thinking a date cake would be gross. Fortunately, our teacher encouraged us otherwise and we stuck to the recipe as it was.

This recipe is as perfect as they come and I have used it ever since. I have never tried another SDP recipe, because why would I? This recipe turns out perfectly every single time. No exceptions.  The cake always rises into a perfect crest with the middle as cooked as the sides. The flavours balance perfectly and by returning it to the oven after piercing holes into the top of the steaming cake and pouring over glossy thick butterscotch sauce, the outer layer of the pudding becomes darker and stickier, giving it is staple look and flavour. And then you taste it.  The warmth of the pudding fresh from the oven with hot butterscotch sauce makes it melt in your mouth.  First comes the buttery flavour of the butterscotch sauce, followed by a depth of caramel from the dates in the soft sponge cake then finally the HIT of butterscotch sweetness at the end. Add some vanilla ice-cream and the coolness and subtle sweetness pairs perfectly with the depth of flavour of the SDP.

Still not to convinced to try this dessert? Why would you, it sounds too good to be true right? Correct. Dare to taste this at your own peril. This is the recipe that has ruined for me and everyone who tries it every other SDP out there. I can no longer order it for dessert or at a cafe as nothing compares to SDP straight from the oven. But it is worth it and a MUST try.

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I have made this dessert many times in Canberra and it was a crowd pleaser every time.  One of my wonderful friends was obsessed with this pudding. He always loved my baking but this pudding for him was on another level. If it was a special occasion for him, I would make it.  Once I even made one just for him and I didn’t even steal a piece. It was tough. He was also a social butterfly, and sometimes it was hard to see him, but a promise of the SDP would always assure his attendance.  One week, his uncle passed away and he was devastated. It is so hard to find the right words or way to express your love and support for someone going through a loss in their family.  For me, one of the ways I express my love for others is through baking.  He came to our house, as did a few other friends, and I made the SDP just for him. The first and biggest piece expressed my sympathy, support and love all in one gloriously golden slice.  I should say that I am not the kind person in this instance, he is, for his gratitude was unwavering and the look he gave me after the first mouthful made it worth every second. I selfishly made it for him just to see that expression one more time.

But the SDP is much more than a crowd pleaser. It converts people. You may not know this but there are SDP haters out there. Oh yes, they exist. They tell me they have tried SDP before and do not like it. Full stop. It just doesn’t do it for them. They have obviously tried a far inferior version, possibly a few days old, cold, dry or not paired with the right sauce. I feel bad for them. I need to correct this injustice. They simply MUST try my version, there is no two ways about it. “Just try one mouthful and if you still don’t I like it, I will concede”. Knowing I am a baking queen and that I have not let them down before, they trust me and crumble to my insistence to try just a spoonful.  You can guess what happened… One mouthful was all it took. They began frantically searching for a spare spoon and bowl to have another piece.

I have had great success with this recipe, turning two haters into SDP lovers, mended hearts and forged friendships.  What will it do for you?


Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

1¼ cups (200g) dried dates, chopped
1¼ cups water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
60g unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup castor sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted

Butterscotch sauce
1 cup (200g) brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup thickened cream
200g butter, chopped

Vanilla Ice-cream or cream to serve

Grease and line a 20cm spring form cake pan. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Put dates and water in a small pot and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and add bicarbonate soda and leave for 5 minutes to become frothy.  The pour into a food processor and process until smooth.


In a large bowl, best together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in one egg at a time, combining completely until adding the remaining egg. Once combined, gently fold in flour. Then fold in the date mixture. Because of the bicarbonate soda, this batter must go straight into the oven as soon as the flour and dates are mixed in.


Pour mixture into cake pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, checking after 40 minutes.  If the cake is browning too much, cover with foil and continue baking. Bake until a skewer comes out clean.


Meanwhile, make the butterscotch sauce. Put butter, cream and sugar into a small pot and stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves but do not boil.  Simmer for 3 minutes. Once the cake is out of the oven, poke lots of holes in the top with a skewer and pour over 1/2 cup of butterscotch sauce evenly over the cake.


Return pudding to the oven for 5 minutes. The sauce should bubble and become sticky on the top.  Remove from tin and baking paper and serve straight away with sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream


You can make it a day ahead, but cool the cake completely then cover with cling wrap and refrigerate. Cover the sauce and cool in the fridge. When you want to serve it, poke holes in it, pour over hot sauce and put the cake in the oven until warm or microwave it slice by slice for 30 seconds.


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Categories: Baking3, Christmas, Dessert 2, Fruit 2, Guest, kosher, Recipes, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

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One Comment on “Guest Blog: Lara – Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce”

  1. Lori M.
    December 27, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    Sounds awesome, but what is castor sugar?


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