Instant Pot Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding — a British holiday dessert!

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If you love all things gooey like I do (and always have!), you’ll love this traditional British dessert, made with a moist date-based cake and basted in caramel toffee sauce. Add fresh whipped cream and an extra toffee drizzle, and this dessert is hard to beat. I had my husband and boys crowding around to eat it — and then to eat more. I love how pretty and festive it is too, beautiful to decorate with fresh pomegranate seeds, red currants or cranberries, and sprigs of fresh rosemary. Best of all, Sticky Toffee Pudding is made in the Instant Pot (so it’s no-fuss easy!), Paleo and gluten-free, nutrient-dense with no refined sugars — a dessert you can feel great about, amidst holiday celebrations.


The Flour

I use cassava flour in this Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe. I do recommend Otto’s brand! They harvest their cassava roots young, which not only prevents us from eating mold, it also means the flour performs better and differently in recipes. (Find Otto’s here.) The roots are not over-grown and overly starchy. Cassava flour, nutritionally, provides resistant starch, which is great for the colon ecosystem. And cassava is a healthy source of complex carbs for sustained energy.

Of course this is still dessert, so eat a bunch of great protein first or alongside! 😉

The Dates

Dates have always been one of my favorite foods. Perhaps they are for you too?: rich, dense, sweet, tender, gooey, nutritious! Dates are jewels to be sure. Sweetening a cake with them has one other benefit, and that’s the texture they provide. Pureed into a batter, the cake bakes up super moist. This is what the British call a “Pudding.” THIS is what we’re here to enjoy.

The Toffee

The Caramel Sauce, which I’m calling “Caramel Toffee Sauce” for the purpose of this recipe, is one of my favorite Eat Beautiful recipes. It’s simply amazing, because it really only has 2 ingredients plus a pinch of sea salt, and it cooks in 8 minutes! (Plus my family won’t stop eating it or talking about how much they love it!) Most caramels are a bit anxiety-producing LOL with wondering if the ingredients will caramelize properly or crystallize. With this recipe, the ingredients have the right flavor and texture almost immediately. I feel excited and thankful to have landed on this crazy-wonderful method and recipe! You can find the caramel recipe here.

The History

The history of Sticky Toffee Pudding is this: Like many famous culinary legends, it was launched by a couple of guys looking for a big hit at their hotel (in north west England). Interestingly, when interviewed on where they got the idea, the recipe probably traces back to America! The recipe does indeed mix up a lot like an American quick bread cake, and less like a British sponge cake. To put it over the top, this dessert is often served with warm vanilla custard, WHICH just happens to be one of my very #favoritethings ! And so I do have a recipe for it, yes!! Here it is, over at my friend’s blog, totally Paleo and purely ethereal. 🙂 Pour this cloaking goodness over Sticky Toffee Pudding AND add Caramel Toffee Sauce, and you’ll be swimming in Swoon-ville.

Of course this recipe has new relevance, because we’re making ours in the Instant Pot! This choice saves time and fuss. The Instant Pot makes the cake extra moist, fast to cook and easy. I love this idea around the holidays when the oven is busy and my hands are so busy. The cake whips up quickly, the toffee sauce is super fast and easy; and then the IP does all the work without taking up oven space!

The Holidays

And so, we have a festive holiday dessert with historical roots, current relevance and Paleo updates — because grain-free and refined sugar-free are always just as delicious, more so in my opinion, and are MUCH healthier! Here’s to you, family celebrations, annual traditions and favorite foods and desserts.

Even if you’ve never had Spotted Dick or Jam Roly-poly Puddings … it’s time for the best British classic of the three: Sticky Toffee Pudding!

Instant Pot Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding slice on plate

5 from 3 votes
Sticky Toffee Pudding (Gluten-free, Paleo)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 8
Author: Megan
  • 1-3/4 cup pitted Medjool dates, not packed about 8 ounces; measure in 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, if possible
  • 1-3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1-1/2 cups cassava flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Make the Caramel Toffee Sauce first (see link in Recipe Notes to Caramel Sauce recipe) -OR- make the Caramel Sauce while the cake is cooking in the Instant Pot.

  2. Grease small bowl or leak-proof cheesecake pan suitable for fitting inside your Instant Pot insert (see the one I have and the link in Recipe Notes below). Set aside.

  3. Pour 2 cups water into Instant Pot insert. Place trivet into bottom of pot.

  4. Place pitted dates in heat-proof measuring cup (ideally with a 2 cup minimum measurement capacity). Add boiling water, ONLY to the 2 cup line (you won't quite use all the water) and allow to soften 1 hour. (If you don't have a 2-cup or larger measuring cup, you'll have to place dates [not packed] in 1 cup measuring cup more than once, then add water to fill line to measure.)

  5. While dates soften, combine dry ingredients in medium size bowl: cassava flour, coconut sugar, baking soda and sea salt.

  6. In small bowl combine wet ingredients: melted butter, milk, egg and apple cider vinegar. Whisk briefly.

  7. Place dates and water in blender and puree 15 seconds.

  8. Pour date puree into dry ingredients bowl. Add wet ingredients. Stir and fold together well without over-mixing. Scrape contents into prepared pan and briefly smooth the top surface. Cover the pan with tin foil over parchment paper and place pan in IP insert on top of trivet; or use parchment paper and place a small salad plate over the paper (to keep it down and somewhat dry during cooking).

  9. Seal Instant Pot lid. Make sure steam valve is shut. Press "Manual" button and set the time to 30 minutes. When timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally for 25 minutes. Then press "Cancel" button and open steam valve. Open lid and remove baking pan by using trivet handles and hot pads.

  10. Tilting the pan to one side slightly to allow any water to roll off, carefully remove tin foil (or plate and parchment). Allow cake to cool to room temperature. If using cheesecake pan, remove pan's sides.

  11. Remove cake from pan, and place on plate. Using about half the caramel, pour warm caramel sauce all over cake's surface. Top with optional whipped cream (or coconut whipped cream). Garnish with pomegranate seeds, red currants or cranberries, fresh rosemary and any other desired seasonal produce. If using whipped cream (highly recommended!), drizzle with additional caramel.

Recipe Notes

Here's the 7-inch cheesecake pan that fits inside the Instant Pot. It's leak-proof, so great for cakes; and it's the one I have.

Grab the Caramel Toffee Sauce recipe HERE.

Have you made Sticky Toffee Pudding?

Comments 30

    1. Post

      Thanks, Linda! I’m so glad! They are fun and, I agree- helpful. I’m just getting by with not-great lighting and not too many video abilities in the tiny house, but I just managed to pull it off. Should get better in a month or so!

  1. I’ve never had a sticky toffee pudding, but I love watching the Great British Baking Show, and I feel like they have an episode in every season where someone makes toffee pudding! Looks so moist and sticky — YUM! Will definitely have to give your paleo version a try!

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  2. Sticky toffee pudding is such a special dessert. My family loves the texture of it. I bet your version is delicious with the cream and those little pomegranate arils on the top – they look like jewels, so festive.

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  3. I ate at the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant in Las Vegas over the summer and tried Ramsay’s Sticky Toffee pudding for the first time ever. I was expecting a super sweet dessert, but it wasn’t at all. And it was to-die for. I bet your version is even better with all the real food ingredients!

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  4. I NEED TO MAKE THIS PUDDING IN MY LIFE. This look so good I could just eat it off my screen. I have not had Sticky Toffee pudding so now it’s my chance. Will be ttrying this dessert soon!!!!

  5. I am obsessed with using dates as an alternative to sugar in all kinds of things! They have a great subtle flavor and add great texture to all kinds of things. This sounds absolutely amazing and sticky toffee pudding is one of my favorite things.

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  6. Megan, can’t wait to try this scrumptiousness, thank you! A few questions… the link for the pan you use (fitting Instant Pot) has a nonstick coating–is it safe or is there another option (I haven’t baked yet in my Instant Pot yet). Additionally, can the Mug-Muffins you link with the Caramel Sauce be baked in the Instant Pot? Lastly, my trusty, very ancient oven has reached the end of his life (such a dependable friend and helper these many years)… what type oven do you use in your home (make and model)? I trust you implicitly!! Sincere thanks.

    1. Post

      Hi Carrie, so sweet of you. Okay, well, I’m not always a model in these things, partially because in our modern world sometimes I settle. Often I can’t and won’t, but sometimes I do, if I don’t believe it will harm our family etc. So – the nonstick coating is one good example. I couldn’t find an alternative (I looked and looked) so I ended up getting that pan. I use a wooden knife vigilantly with it! No metal. And I watch it. If it ever gets scratched I won’t use it anymore. But I do wish there was another option!

      I believe the mug muffin cake batter will cook fine in the IP, but I haven’t done it to be sure. Should be fine, just needs to be covered while it cooks.

      Re the oven – we always choose electric, because propane and gas aren’t safe to breathe. Electric is second to solar in safety. After that, we weren’t picky at all. Last Black Friday we just went to our local home supply store and got the simplest, best priced electric oven that was marked down. That’s the frugal us. I hope that helps a little. 😉 Blessings!!

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