Gluten-Free Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake! Moist date cakes covered in a decadent, buttery toffee sauce. A show-stopping (but easy!) holiday dessert everyone will love.
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Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake. Have you heard of it? Have you TASTED it? It’s an absolute dream of a cake and an all-time favorite at my house.
The cakes are baked in individual ramekins making adorable and fancy single portions. Each cake is perfectly moist and studded with sticky dates. Add a drizzle of homemade buttery toffee sauce and a touch of heavy cream and you have the ultimate holiday dessert!
One of my favorite things to do over the holidays is to bake special, from-scratch treats for my family. Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake has become something my kids look forward to every year! They are always thrilled to get their own special cakes plated on fancy dishes.
One of the tricks to making the BEST Sticky Toffee Pudding Cakes is to use high-quality ingredients. I like to use fresh Medjool dates for the cakes. I always have dates in my pantry, and I love Medjool dates because they are soft and caramelly sweet.
Gluten-Free Sticky Toffee Pudding
I also like to use a high quality vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste for these cakes. My favorite is Nielsen- Massey Vanilla. Did you know all Nielsen-Massey products are 100% gluten-free? They were gluten-free before anyone even thought to ask. As soon as you open a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla, you can tell it’s high quality – the smell is absolutely divine!
Nielsen-Massey uses a proprietary cold extraction process instead of heat extraction to preserve the 300+ distinctive flavor compounds present in vanilla beans, giving Nielsen-Massey vanilla extracts a rich, complex flavor profile.
I use Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract in the cakes, and Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla Bean Paste in the toffee sauce as a special ingredient. The vanilla bean paste is flecked with vanilla seeds and the creamy, velvety flavor really takes this dessert to the next level. I also like to add a drizzle of heavy cream for another layer of richness.
I usually make Sticky Toffee Pudding a few times during the holidays. It’s my go-to when we have guests over during November and December. It’s also a great non-pie dessert option for Thanksgiving and one of my favorite choices for our Christmas feast. Try serving it with this Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate!
So many of my favorite holiday traditions involve baking. This is a dessert I hope my kids remember as special and memorable during the holidays!
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Gluten-Free Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake
For the Cakes:
- 170 grams dates 10-12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 3/4 cup boiling water 177 ml
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour 160 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened 56 grams
- 3/4 cup brown sugar 150 grams
- 2 large eggs
For the Toffee Sauce:
- 1 stick butter 1/2 cup, 113g
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar 200 grams
- 2/3 cup heavy cream 156ml
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
- In a medium bowl, combine the dates, boiling water, baking soda and vanilla. Let the dates soak for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Lightly grease 8 ramekins (I use 6oz ramekins) with cooking spray. Place on a baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and brown sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and combined, about 1-2 minutes. While mixing, add the eggs one a time mixing after each addition.
- With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add 1/2 of the date mixture and mix. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by the other 1/2 of the date mixture, and mix. Add the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix until totally combined.
- Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins. Bake for 22-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let cool for at least 15 minutes (or more) before plating.
For the toffee sauce:
- Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the sugar and salt. Then cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture looks puffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- While whisking, slowly add the cream. Continue to whisk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for about 3 minutes until thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste. Pour into a serving container or a jar for storing. Serve sauce warm. Sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance then reheated.
- Serve the cakes by turning the cake out onto a plate. Pour over some of the warm sauce and a drizzle of heavy cream if desired. Enjoy!
This cake is so amazing. I could eat the whole batch.
I had just eaten a traditionally made toffee cake and while it was good I wanted a GF version. When I came across your recipe I had to make it.
I did a few substitutions replacing the brown sugar with xylitol mixed with a tsp of molasses. I also used my own homemade vanilla. I may add bourbon on my next bake.
My husband loved it as well and couldn’t believe it had dates in it.
I froze most of it so I wouldn’t eat it all. Well, we’ve eaten them all now and I’ll be making another batch today. Thank you for this awesome cake. It’s definitely better than the traditional version. 🙂
Hooray! I’m so glad it turned out for you. Great to know it worked with those sugar replacements. Thanks for the comment!
hard to find sticky toffee pudding served at restaurants in my area so I gave this a shot – SO FREAKIN GOOD! swapped 2 tablespoons of sugar with molasses, and baked in a square 9×9 for an extra few minutes. Thank you for a great GF recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Great to know it worked well in the 9×9 pan!
I noticed that you did not use any xanthan gum in this recipe. Does it come out alright without it, not too crumbly? Thanks
I use gluten-free 1:1 baking flour which contains xanthan gum. It is important to use a flour blend that does indeed contain xanthan gum!
Can you use regular vanilla extract in this recipe?
Yes definitely! You can use vanilla extract in place of the vanilla bean paste.
Hi! Can the cake be frozen ahead of time and warmed up before topping with the sauce?
Yes that will work great! I would cool the cake completely, then wrap in a layer of plastic wrap, followed by foil. Let them defrost at room temperature for 6-8 hours. Then you can warm them up a little (just a 10-15 seconds in the microwave) before topping with the sauce. I hope this helps!
Holy moly this was delicious! I’ve wanted to try sticky toffee pudding since reading about it in Harry Potter! This did not disappoint! Thank you Erin!
Thank you for this amazing recipe! It turns out so delicious. I used coconut cream and it was perfect. I have made it twice now and the second time I decreased the sugar a bit and added 1tbsp of mollasses (and decreased water by 1tbsp as well). The original is amazing, but the molasses adds a nice little flavour as well. Thanks so much for making such a wonderful gf recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Great to know it works with those modifications. Thanks for the comment!
This recipe is Fantastic! We really enjoyed it. I made a few substitutions and it turned out beautiful.
Butter was replaced with a vegan alternative, heavy cream was replaced with coconut cream, and chai tea instead of water to soak the dates. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Great to know the recipe worked with those substitutions. Thanks for the comment!
This recipe is amazingly delicious! I made it exactly as written with the recommended King Arthur GF flour and it came together quickly and easily. My family devoured it for our special Christmas dessert and enjoyed it so much, I made it again a week later for New Years when my parents were visiting. It a definite keeper and a new favorite!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’m honored you made it for Christmas dessert 🙂 Thanks for the comment!
Can you make this into regular size cake instead of using ramekins?
Yes! You can make this in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan instead.
This was wonderful! I made this per the inspiration of the Great British Baking Show, but I needed a gluten free version. I followed the recipe by using the gram/weight measurements whenever provided. I used Better Batter All Purpose GF flour.
The only change I would make it to make at least one and a half recipes of the sauce…it is SO good…or maybe just double it since it would be delish on other things like ice cream.
I served it to my whole fam (most of whom are not GF)…and it got wonderful reviews!
(also…I did use dairy free Country Crock Butter STICKS in the cake part to reduce the dairy…and I just used vanilla extract whenever the recipe called for vanilla paste.
I only own a couple of ramekins. Could I bake this in a pan or dish instead? What time would you recommend?
Thanks so much!
If you tried it in a pan, please let me know how to vary the cook time / temperature
Hi Erin, I can’t wait to try this. Any suggestion on a non dairy heavy cream? I’ve read that coconut evaporated milk will work, thoughts?
Hi Nicole! I would use full-fat canned coconut milk for a dairy-free option. Coconut evaporated milk is good for somethings – but has added sugar and will make the topping too sweet. I hope this helps!