I love it when readers write to me. It makes my day, each and every time. I love it when they try a recipe from here and tell me how it turned out, or ask me questions, or just pop in to say they feel like baking when they read this blog. I’m so flattered and so grateful for this love because what I do here is only possible because of you guys 🙂
So, a few weeks ago, my Mom brought home a sticky date pudding. I hadn’t eaten one in years, and had completely forgotten how insanely good it was. I asked her for the recipe and a few days later, I got an Instagram message from a reader (hi, Anuradha!) asking me if I could possibly make a sticky date pudding as she’d loved it when she tasted it during her travels and wanted to recreate it. I’m not sure if you call this serendipity, but I think it comes pretty close 🙂
All it really is, is a dark, super moist cake filled with dates and a wondrous caramel flavour. You would think I’d stop there, but for once, I recommend a sweet, buttery sauce that drips all over the cake, soaks into it and is infused with vanilla beans and is definitely not diet food. All of a sudden, ‘just cake’ becomes this sticky, gooey, mess of a pudding and you won’t be able to get enough.
This is a recipe based off one my Mom got from an Australian friend and we’ve never stopped loving it. I will insist that you serve the pudding warm, with the hot sauce poured over just before serving, because the magic is in the way it melts into the cake. You could also serve it with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream, but if you and your skinny jeans plan to remain friends, it may not be the best idea 🙂
The cake itself is terribly quick to make, as long as your dates are at room temperature so you can chop them easily. The sauce takes all of 5 minutes and the best part of this pudding is that you don’t need to torment yourself till things cool down to room temperature. It should be warm, sticky and messy, otherwise it would be called Dainty Date Pudding. Which isn’t half as fun.
This entire recipe uses brown sugar, and I’d suggest getting the darkest demerara you can find. If regular brown sugar is all you have (like I did), don’t fret, it just means your sauce may not be very dark, but it will still taste like the very nectar of life itself. The recipe also uses self-raising flour but I’ve noted a substitution below. If you’re interested, Blue Bird does make affordable self-raising flour in india.
If you’re not a fan of dates (I wasn’t, up until recently), don’t worry. This pudding honestly doesn’t taste of dates, even though there’s bits of them scattered throughout. They add texture and that beautiful caramelised, honey-like flavour and you will be nothing but grateful for their existence.
Let’s make pudding!
- For the date cake
- 170 gms pitted dates*, chopped small (approx 25 dates, weighing is most precise)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 and ¼ cup freshly boiled water
- ¼ cup butter (approx 60 gms)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 and 1 / 3 cup self-raising flour (Or an equal amount of regular/all-purpose flour sifted with 1 and ½ tsps baking powder)
- For the butterscotch sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar (preferably a dark demerara)
- ½ cup fresh cream
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 vanilla beans or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, add the dates and baking soda, then top with the boiling water. Stir, cover and set aside for the dates to soften.
- Grease an 8x8 baking pan (I used my 10x6 rectangular pan because my square pan is a bit large) and preheat the oven to 180 C.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
- Fold in the flour, the mixture will now be thick and sticky. Add the date mixture which will now be frothy and slightly strange looking. Mix well, running a hand mixer through the batter if needed.It should be smooth and runny, except for the date pieces.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool a bit, so that it's easier to cut.
- After the cake has cooled for about an hour (it will still be a little warm), make the sauce by combining the sugar, cream and butter in a small saucepan. Scrape the vanilla beans and add the seeds to the saucepan. I also left one of the scraped beans in the mixture to infuse. Bring the whole thing to boil on low heat till you have a smooth, creamy sauce with specks of vanilla.
- Slice the cake into squares and pour a couple of spoons of the warm sauce over each piece and dig in!