MAXINE GORDON rustles up a quick and easy, but very sinful, sticky toffee pudding.

I HAVE always thought of cake making as alchemy. You begin with humble ingredients such as flour, eggs, sugar and butter and you end up with a beautiful golden sponge.

But it can be like magic too. And no recipe is as abracadabra amazing as this one for sticky toffee pudding. It’s easy-peasy too; my daughter picked it up at a cookery day run by the excellent Gilly Robinson at York’s The Cooking Rooms (I think it is based on a Nigella classic).

Make it with your kids for sheer fun – and then try to work out the science behind it.

It’s one of those recipes that has you rubbing your chin wondering if it can be right. It is. Trust me. Yes, you do have to pour a litre of hot water over the cake, leaving it looking like a drowned mud pie, before bunging it in the oven for about 40 to 45 minutes.

Your faith will be rewarded by a gorgeous and goey pudding surrounded by a thick, treacly sauce. It is very sweet and rich, so you will find little brownie-sized squares an adequate portion size, meaning the amount below will go a long way.


Sticky toffee pudding

Serves eight to ten

You will need a 1½ litre capacity pudding dish

150g dark muscovado sugar 
225g self-raising flour
175ml full-fat milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g unsalted butter (melted)
250g chopped, rolled dates

For the sauce:

250g dark muscovado sugar approx.
75g unsalted butter in little blobs
550ml boiling water



Preheat the oven to 190C/GM5 and butter your pudding dish.

Combine the 150g dark muscovado sugar with the flour in a large bowl.

Pour the milk into a measuring jug, beat in the egg, vanilla and melted butter and then pour this mixture over the sugar and flour. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

Fold in the dates then scrape into the prepared pudding dish. Don’t worry it if doesn’t look very full, it will do by the time it cooks.

Sprinkle over the 250g dark muscovado sugar and dot with butter. Pour over the boiling water and transfer it to the oven.

Set the timer for 45 minutes, though you might find the pudding needs five or ten minutes more. The top of the pudding should be springy and spongy when cooked; underneath, the butter, sugar and water will have turned into a rich, sticky sauce.

Serve with vanilla ice-cream or crème fraiche.