Ah, the British classic: sticky toffee pudding. A staple in every Granny’s cookbook. But I will hazard a guess that the sticky toffee pudding in your beloved Granny’s recipe collection was not gluten-free? Or vegan?
My coeliac father-in-law is a fan of a sticky toffee pudding. Last year for Christmas, I went to their house for Christmas dinner for the first time and I wanted to bring a dessert that everyone could share so they didn’t have to go out and buy something extortionate from the Free From section.
So, gluten free sticky toffee pudding it was!
Sticky toffee pudding is traditionally made with dates but you’ll see recipes far and wide that are basically just caramel cakes that use brown sugar without a date in sight. That is not sticky toffee pudding! This gluten-free and vegan recipe for sticky toffee pudding with dates ticks all of the boxes.
If you’re gluten-free, you’ve probably had enough brownies to last you for at least two lifetimes. Sometimes, you want to go to someone’s house or pick a dessert off a restaurant menu that strays from that well-trodden gluten-free brownie path.
And if you’re a coeliac vegan? Well, you’ve probably had enough fruit salad to make sure you’ve had your 5 a day for many a year to come. Dream no more about that gooey sticky toffee pudding with sickly sweet toffee sauce… and a scoop (or two) of the best vegan vanilla ice cream…
There are a few things you absolutely must have with a sticky toffee pudding:
- Numero uno. You want a light, well-risen, caramel-coloured sponge. No dry crumbly messes. Just a moist but delicate cake.
- You want a little bit of texture from some roughly chopped sticky dates (or nuts if you’re feeling extra).
- And lastly, you want that deeply rich, sticky toffee sauce oozing all over it – no skimping!
This gluten-free vegan sticky toffee pudding recipe ticks all of these boxes.
A worry I always have with gluten-free and vegan cakes is that they won’t rise. Or they’ll disintegrate upon impact with a knife. Or they’ll be dry and claggy and every bite will stick to the top of my mouth. Baking is (or should be!) therapeutic and rewarding. You put effort and time into the process, so you want to reap the rewards with a dang good cake at the end of it! When I first made this recipe, I was so relieved when I took it out of the oven. Perfecto.
Your Granny’s version of this date pudding probably differs a lot from this gluten-free vegan sticky toffee pudding. Maybe she added a touch of ground ginger or cloves? She probably didn’t use a food processor and opted to hand chop the dates with her own two hands. And she likely didn’t serve it with a cold glass of almond milk (and most definitely not soya milk!) on the side…
This recipe is adapted from Delightful Adventures sticky toffee pudding. I fell in love with this amazing recipe but wanted a proper tray bake cake rather than individual muffins and I have used a different toffee sauce recipe too.
- 4 x flax or chia "eggs" (4tbsp of ground flaxseed/chia seeds mixed with 180ml of cold water)
- 2.5 cups / 500g of dates, no pits
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 2 cups / 500ml of boiling water (or use hot soy milk)
- 2 cups / 240g of gluten-free flour (if using self-raising flour, omit baking powder)
- ⅓ cup / 66g of soft brown sugar / light muscovado sugar
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup / 125ml melted coconut oil or vegan butter
- (For vegan sticky toffee sauce) ⅔ cup / 100g brown sugar
- ⅓ cup / 100g dairy-free butter
- 1 cup / 250ml soy cream or coconut cream (without the coconut milk)
- 2 tbsp golden syrup (or treacle for a really rich taste)
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C (for fan-assisted ovens).
- Grease and line a 9-inch square baking pan and set aside.
- Add 2 cups / 200g of the dates to a large bowl and sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda. Pour the hot water (or hot soy milk) over and stir it so the bicarbonate of soda dissolves. Set aside for around 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make your flax eggs.
- When your dates are ready, pour the full contents of the bowl, water and all, into a food processor and puree.
- In another large mixing bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
- Scrape the date mixture out of the food processor and into the bowl you had the dates in before. Add your flax eggs, vanilla, and oil/butter and combine well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well but don't over mix. Mix through your remaining chopped dates.
- You want to act quickly here. Pour your mixture into the line square tin. Make sure that it is evenly spread to all four edges and isn't too lumpy and bumpy on the top.
- Pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Check it after 20ish minutes, but no sooner.
- When it's done, your knife/toothpick/skewer should come out clean with just a few crumbs. Remove it from the oven and set on a cooling rack, leaving it in its tin for 10 minutes.
- Now to make the sticky toffee sauce. In a small saucepan, add dairy-free butter, soya cream, brown sugar, and golden syrup. Heat it on a medium heat. With a wooden spoon, combine everything, continuously mixing until the mixture melts down.
- Cook on medium for around 10 to 15 minutes until it is the consistency you like.
- When you're ready to serve the pudding, reheat in the oven for around 10-15 minutes at around 120 degrees C to avoid drying it out. Alternatively, you can microwave individual portions for 5 minutes. Prick the vegan sticky toffee pudding cake with a fork all over and then drizzle the caramel sauce on top. Serve as is or with vegan ice cream or vegan custard!