Also known as Sticky Date Pudding, this date cake is moist and comforting with notes of caramel and raisin. An easy homemade rum sticky toffee sauce ties the cake together and brings you back for more!
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This cake, folks, is good enough for me to exclaim to anyone who's in ear shot how much I love it -- regardless if it's the 6th time I've eaten it that week. Just ask Chris. I did it again last night.
A platter of this cake on the counter signifies comfort and knowing that life is certainly going to be great at least for a few minutes that day. It is a sign of the love and care that the baker put into creating their masterpiece. You can even taste love in the rich date sponge; the rum toffee sauce is virtually dripping with comfort.
Yes, this cake might take a little bit of TLC to get it together. But to show your loved ones -- or yourself-- that you care is more than worth it. Serve this cake anytime you are craving nostalgia, want a sweet pick-me-up, or want to celebrate with a classic.
Save this sticky date cake recipe for later on Pinterest:
What is sticky date pudding?
Sticky date pudding is a dessert that originated in the United Kingdom. It is a cake that made with cooked down dates, spices, and is covered in a rich toffee sauce. Usually it is served warm and is garnished with either whipped cream or ice cream.
What dates are best for sticky date pudding?
Medjool dates are the best dates for date cake, as they are soft, juicy, and have pronounced caramel flavors. Other dates, like Deglet Noor dates are too dry and waxy to work successfully in this cake.
- Medjool dates - pit the dates before using them in the recipe.
- Vanilla extract - pure extract is best
- Light rum - an optional ingredient, but adds a light caramel flavor to the cake. All of the alcohol burns off in the making of this recipe, so the cake and the toffee sauce are both alcohol-free.
- Date syrup - adds an extra concentrated date flavor to the cake. You can purchase date syrup at Trader Joe's or on Amazon.
- Baking soda & baking powder
- Light brown sugar
- Unsalted butter - if you do not have unsalted butter, salted butter can work as a replacement. Just reduce the salt in the rest of the recipe by a pinch.
- Large eggs
- Light rum (optional) - any type of light rum works. I've even used Hawaiian light rum and it's delicious. Whereas you don't need an expensive rum, you also want you use one that has good drinking flavor.
- Ground allspice
- Heavy whipping cream
How to make date cake:
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Make the date paste.
- In a saucepan, combine the dates, raisins, vanilla extract, date extract, rum, baking soda, and hot water.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture is thick.
- Remove the dates from the heat. Pour the dates into a mixing bowl and mash into a paste. Chill.
Cream the butter and sugar.
- In a stand mixer, cream together the brown sugar and softened butter until smooth and light brown.
- Mix the eggs into the mixture one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Make the date cake batter.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, allspice, baking powder, and salt.
- Mix half of the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in half of the date paste. Repeat until the date paste is evenly mixed into the batter and no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour the batter into a prepared bundt cake pan and bake until the cake is baked through, or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
How to make rum toffee sauce:
- Add the brown sugar and butter to a medium saucepan. Pour the heavy whipping cream over the sugar and butter. Do not stir or mix the ingredients.
- Heat the saucepan over medium heat. Bring the toffee sauce to a simmer and cook, not stirring or disturbing the sugar and cream, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Pour the light rum into the toffee (if using) and cook the sauce, gently stirring occasionally, or until the toffee is a light caramel color.
Sticky date cake recipe pro-tips:
- Cream the butter and sugar until it's light and smooth. This may take a few minutes of mixing and a rounds of scraping down the sides of the bowl between mixing intervals. Starting with room temperature butter will help the process go quickly and smoothly. Getting the mixture night and light and fluffy is worth it, though, as it help creates a light and even cake.
- Mix the eggs in individually. Mix in the eggs one-by-one, completely incorporating them into the butter and sugar mixture (and scraping down the sides of the bowl of needed), before mixing in the next egg.
- Measure the flour by weighing it. Though I know this sounds fanatical, one of the best ways to ensure that your cake isn't heavy and dense is to weigh the flour on a food scale. Food scales are only $10 on Amazon and can make such a difference in your baking! If you can't get one by the time you make this recipe, I recommend spooning and leveling the flour into measuring cups.
- Let the date paste cool before stirring into the batter. This way the paste doesn't shock the rest of the batter or prematurely cook the eggs.
- Don't stir the toffee sauce before the sugar dissolves. Letting the sugar dissolve completely before stirring the sauce keeps the toffee sauce from getting grainy or sandy. Only start to gently stir the toffee sauce once all of the sugar is dissolved into the liquid.
- Rum is optional. This recipe is delicious made without the rum as well. If you don't have rum or otherwise don't want rum or alcohol in this recipe it can just be omitted from the recipe.
Reheating the toffee sauce:
To reheat the toffee sauce, add the cooled toffee sauce to a saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring periodically, or until the sauce has loosened and is warned through.
Serving the pudding:
Serve this sticky toffee pudding warm with the rum toffee sauce and whipped cream or ice cream.
When enjoying leftovers, I recommend serving them reheated. Warm up individual slices in the microwave for 20-30 seconds at 50% heat, or until the cake is just warmed through. Drizzle with the warmed toffee sauce and top with whipped cream or ice cream (I'm a whipped cream gal)!
If you prefer to not go through the hassle of reheating the date cake or simple prefer it cold, you can also serve it cold! I do recommend still warming up the toffee sauce, however.
- Refrigeration: store leftover sticky toffee date cake covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Freezing: leftovers can also be frozen in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. For best results, freeze the additional toffee sauce separately in a freezer safe container.
- Thawing: thaw the cake covered at room temperature for 3-4 hours. Thaw the toffee sauce in the refrigerator for 12-18 hours.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Food scale
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Potato masher
- Silicone spatula
- Bundt cake pan
- Wire cooling rack
More baking recipes:
- Brown Butter Banana Bread
- Pineapple Poke Cake
- Lemon Poke Cake
- Peanut Butter Brookies
- Banana Cake
- Sweet Yeast Dinner Rolls
- Banana Bread Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Frosting
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!