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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.
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! 😉
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 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 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!
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!
Sticky Toffee Pudding (Gluten-free, Paleo)
- instant pot and trivet
- cheesecake pan
- bowl and spatula
- 1-3/4 cup Medjool dates pitted, 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour 2 cups water into Instant Pot insert. Place trivet into bottom of pot.
- 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.)
- While dates soften, combine dry ingredients in medium size bowl: cassava flour, coconut sugar, baking soda and sea salt.
- In small bowl combine wet ingredients: melted butter, milk, egg and apple cider vinegar. Whisk briefly.
- Place dates and water in blender and puree 15 seconds.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.