Sticky Date Puddings with Butterscotch Sauce


Boy, oh boy. It’s not often I can truly rave about a dessert, but this one scored a 10/10 for me. Not normally one for cake type desserts, I have to say that this recipe from Kathy Knudsen at Australian Good Taste, March 2009 (at is, in a word, spectacular. As far as I’m concerned, there’ll be absolutely no need to try other alternatives. The sponge is unbelievably soft, thanks to the dates, and when steeped in the rich, dark butterscotch sauce, incredibly moist. A winner, no matter how you look at it.

I did make some changes to the recipe. Firstly, I switched the butterscotch sauce to one I’d used previously in my Boozy Banoffee Trifle – provided by Delia Smith – a recipe which frankly can’t be beaten. I also created a creme fraiche/cream mix instead of plain cream in order to balance the sweetness. Finally, the original recipe said it served six, but I saw that many reviewers said the puddings were too big. So I decided to halve the recipe and make five mini-bundt sized portions instead. I’m glad I did, as for five people, it was just perfect. I’ve left the recipe as is though, so depending on what you decide to cook the cakes in, it should serve anywhere from 6-10 portions. Enjoy!



Serves 6-8 (or 5 mini-bundt sized portions – 83ml (1/3 cup) – if recipe is halved)

Ingredients: (Click here for unit converter)

For the cakes

  • Soft butter, to grease ramekins (or butter and flour to prepare bundt tins)
  • 285g (1-3/4 cups) pitted dates, halved (I used gourmet Medjool dates)
  • 250ml (1 cup) boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 80g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 115g (¾ cup) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 75g (½ cup) plain flour, sifted

Butterscotch Sauce

  • 150g (5 oz) golden syrup
  • 50g (2 oz) butter
  • 75g (3 oz) soft brown sugar
  • 50g (2 oz) golden granulated sugar (or white)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To serve

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • 1-2 Tbsp light muscovado sugar (to taste)
  • Lightly roasted pecan nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F). Put on a kettle of water to boil for the bain marie.
  2. Brush a six hole 185ml (3/4 cup) muffin pan with melted butter to lightly grease and line the bases with non-stick baking paper. If using a mini-bundt pan, brush with soft butter then thoroughly dust with flour.
  3. Combine the dates, water and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes to soften. Use a fork to coarsely mash.
  4. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and caster sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the date mixture and the combined flour. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans and smooth the surfaces.
  5. Place the muffin pan (or mini-bundt pan) in a roasting dish and carefully pour in enough boiling water to come no more than half way up the sides of whatever you’re using. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (my mini-bundt sized cakes cooked around 15-20 minutes) or until the surface of the cakes are golden brown and spring back when lightly touched, or a skewer comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for about 5 minutes to stand before turning the cakes onto a wire rack. You’ll see that, given the cakes have been cooked in a bain marie, the bottoms of the cake (which will be the tops when inverted) are very soft and not browned – this is normal.036foodlgWhile the cakes are cooking,  place the golden syrup, butter and sugars in a small saucepan. Then place over a gentle heat and allow to slowly melt and dissolve, giving it a stir from time to time, which will take 5-7 minutes. Let it continue to cook at a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes, then gradually stir in the double cream and vanilla extract until well combined. Take off heat and let it cool.
  6. You can serve the puddings immediately if you like. However, it’s easy enough to make these ahead. I let my cakes cool completely. Then, a couple of hours before serving, I placed the puddings onto serving plates and poured 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce over each pudding, and simply let them steep in the sauce – the puddings became beautifully moist and flavoursome. When it came time to serve, I microwaved each of the puddings for 15 seconds on high (until they’re just slightly warm), topped with the creme fraiche/cream mixture, then drizzled more sauce over top. If you want, you can also add chopped roasted nuts over top.

Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting



4 thoughts on “Sticky Date Puddings with Butterscotch Sauce

    1. Thank you!! Yes, I liked how you could make ahead too – took the urgency out of making them just prior to dinner. And yes, the gold forks were a great find – about 1 NZ dollar each in a second hand store. I LOVE giving old service-ware new life!

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