When I was at Oxford, my first delectable taste of Sticky Toffee Pudding was at The Lemon Tree and it’s been my mission to recreate what instantly became my favorite dessert, or pudding, ever since. As a gluten-free chef, I knew I couldn’t skimp on the richness of the texture and depth of flavor. It had to be just like that first experience. It had to honor a grand British pudding. 

After many years, I’ve adapted Food + Wine’s Sticky Toffee Pudding to reflect that very first bite, yet upgraded it for those of us who are Gluten-Free. I also swapped in coconut palm sugar (it has a caramel flavor and half the glycemic load as regular sugar – you decide!). Stay-tuned for a dairy-free and vegan version!

This recipe will be ringing in a very welcomed New Year!

Toffee Sauce

2 ½ cups heavy cream

1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces)

½ cup maple syrup

1 cup granulated sugar or coconut palm sugar 



6 ounces pitted dates (about 7 dates preferably Medjool)

3/4 cup water

Optional: 1 Bengal Spice or Chai tea bag

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (only add if your flour does not list xanthan gum in the ingredients)

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 pinch of salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)

¾ cup packed light brown sugar or coconut palm sugar

1 large egg

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or alcohol-free extract for those sensitive to alcohol)


For Serving

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (for serving)


Step 1

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/4 cups of the cream with the butter, maple syrup and sugar; bring to a boil. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 40 minutes. Carefully whisk in the remaining 1 1/4 cups of cream. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a bowl.

Step 2

In a small saucepan, simmer the dates in the water over moderately low heat until the water is nearly absorbed and the dates are soft, about 15 minutes. Transfer the dates and any liquid to a food processor and puree until very smooth. Optional: add a tea bag such as Bengal Spice, or Chai. 

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter six 1/2-cup ramekins. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then beat in the date puree. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter into the ramekins and smooth the tops. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean; let cool slightly.

Step 4

Using a small serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes level with the rims of the ramekins. Unmold the cakes and invert them onto a wire rack. Slice each cake in half horizontally. Wipe out the ramekins and spoon 1 tablespoon of the toffee sauce into each. Return the bottom layers of the cakes to the ramekins, cut side up. Spoon another tablespoon of the toffee sauce into the ramekins and top with the top cake layers. Spoon another tablespoon of the toffee sauce over the cakes and spread evenly. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the toffee is bubbling around the edges.

Step 5

Let the puddings cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin-bladed knife around the insides of the ramekins; invert each pudding onto a dessert plate. Rewarm the remaining toffee sauce and spoon some around the puddings. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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