I may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. I am not a doctor; please consult your practitioner before changing your supplement or healthcare regimen.
If you love all things gooey and moist! — especially cake!, you’ll love this Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding! — a traditional British dessert, made Gluten-free, nut-free and grain-free. It features a rich flavorful date-based cake basted in caramel toffee sauce! Bake it in the oven, OR even make it in your Instant Pot. Both versions are easy and so delicious.
Holiday time last year, and now again this year! — I had my husband and boys crowding around to eat Sticky Toffee Pudding — and then to eat more! This dessert is truly incredible and hard to resist!
I love how pretty and festive it is, too — beautiful with optional whipped cream and garnishes — and the awesomely necessary Easy Caramel Sauce!
Sticky Toffee Pudding is a no-fuss easy recipe + has no refined sugars — a dessert you can feel great about, amidst holiday celebrations.
Jump to Recipe
Ingredients in Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding
- cassava flour — I recommend you use Otto’s brand. For the best recipe results, always try to use Otto’s when it’s recommended. Practice-wise, Otto’s harvests their cassava roots young, which not only prevents mold growth, it also means the flour performs better and differently in recipes. Overgrown roots produce overly starchy flour that performs more like tapioca flour. (Find Otto’s here.)
- dates — Medjool are best.
- coconut sugar
- butter or coconut oil
- milk of choice
- baking soda, apple cider vinegar and sea salt
The dates in Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding
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. Puréed into a batter, the cake bakes up super moist.
Now we see why the British call this cake a “Pudding“. THIS is what we’re here to make and enjoy.
The toffee in Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding
Easy Caramel Sauce, which I’m calling “Caramel Toffee Sauce” for the purpose of this recipe, is one of my favorite Eat Beautiful recipes. Simply amazing, it has only 2 ingredients plus a pinch of sea salt, and it cooks in just 8 minutes.
Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding (Oven OR Instant Pot, Gluten-free)
- instant pot and trivet OR Oven
- cheesecake pan OR 9"/preferred size cake pan for Oven option
- bowl and spatula
- electric mixer optional (I use a handheld mixer.)
- 1-¾ cup Medjool dates pitted and chopped roughly, not packed, 8 ounces
- 1-⅛ cup water
- 1-½ cups cassava flour
- ¾ cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
- ½ cup butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- ⅓ cup milk of choice
- 1 egg (It's okay to use a Jumbo egg; any egg size works.)
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda , sifted
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Make Easy Caramel Sauce first OR make Caramel Sauce while the cake is cooking or cooling; it's flexible.
- Choose pan size based on cooking method and preference: If you want to make the cake in a tall small pan like I did in the photos, the edges and top get pretty dark with oven-baking. So I lower the oven temp as I bake, to prevent burning, while still perfectly cooking the interior of the cake. This is one benefit of the IP cooking method, no outer darkened edges, so the whole cake stays super soft while the middle cooks perfectly. Both versions are great, but just know that. Of course, the other option is to bake Sticky Toffee Pudding in a 9" cake pan, so it won't be tall, but it also won't get too dark on the edges. I love my tall baked version and the IP small pan version, for the inner moist cake you get to really see. But the 9" cake pan is very alluring as well.
- Oven version: Grease 7" Cheesecake Pan or 9" cake pan, and set aside.For Instant Pot: Grease 7-cup heatproof bowl or leak-proof cheesecake pan suitable for fitting inside your Instant Pot insert (like this). Set aside. Pour 2 cups water into Instant Pot insert. Place trivet into bottom of pot.
- Recipe: In saucepan, bring water to a boil. Turn off heat, and add dates. Soak 1 hour.
- While dates soften, combine dry ingredients in mixing 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.
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.Place dates and water in blender. Purée 15 seconds.
- Pour date purée 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.
- Oven version: For 9" cake pan, bake until well puffed and golden brown, bounces back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 25 minutes. For taller 7" cake pan, bake 20 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 325°F for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 300°F for 10 minutes.Instant Pot version: Cover bowl or 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 heatproof 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 upside down. Using about half or more of the caramel, pour and spread warm caramel sauce all over cake's surface. Top with optional whipped cream (or coconut whipped cream). Or nest in a pool of Paleo Vanilla Custard.
You can Pin this recipe here:
Other holiday and winter desserts
The history of Sticky Toffee Pudding
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.
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 Northwest England). Interestingly, when interviewed on where they got the idea, they said 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.
Serve Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Custard …
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 dearest friend’s blog, totally Paleo and purely ethereal. 🙂 Make it, too, for a super incredible British dessert.
Pour this cloaking goodness over Sticky Toffee Pudding, or nest the pudding on top of a pool of custard, AND add Caramel Toffee Sauce, and you’ll be swimming in SwoonVille.
Why make cake in the Instant Pot
Of course this recipe has new relevance, because we’re making ours with cassava flour and with an Instant Pot option. 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!
On normal non-holiday days, when the house can use some extra warmth and love from the oven, I also love baking this recipe, which is what I did the day I photographed it.
Pan shape and size
Note: If you wish to make the cake in a tall small pan like I did in the photos, the edges and top get pretty dark with oven-baking. So I lower the oven temp as I bake, to prevent burning, while still perfectly cooking the interior of the cake. This is another benefit of the IP cooking method, no outer darkened edges, so the whole cake stays super soft. Both versions are great, but just know that. Of course, the other option is to just bake Sticky Toffee Pudding in a 9″ cake pan, so it won’t be tall, but it also won’t get too dark on the edges.
Joni Gomes says
Now THIS is my kind of cake!! Love that it is date-sweetened. Looks amazing 🙂
linda spiker says
Love the process photos! I always appreciate a visual. So helpful!
Thanks, Linda! I’m so glad they’re helpful!
Lindsey Dietz says
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!
We love that show too!! 😉
Catherine Baez Sholl says
This looks delicious! Haven’t used cassava flour, thanks for the explanation on it.
STACEY CRAWFORD says
Wow, Iove this! Perfect Xmas dessert!
Karen Kelly says
I’ve never had toffee pudding but it looks delicious! I love using my Instant Pot because it’s so easy!
Renee Kohley says
Oh I bet those dates make the texture just so amazing! I have never had this dessert before, but it is so easy to make in the IP, we might just try it this holiday! Thanks!
Great Renee! I know your girls would love that fast and yummy caramel sauce too!!
Jennifer Fisher says
this looks crazy good! I’m going to have to make it — let’s hope I don’t eat all the dates first haha
I know right, too funny and so true! 😉
I have a British family and grew up eating sticky toffee pudding! Love that you have made a paleo version and in the instant pot too!
How lovely, Hope!!
This looks and sounds incredible! I love that it uses cassava flour too. It’s becoming my favorite flour!
ChihYu Smith says
oh wow ! They look just so fabulous ! Love it’s so healthy, too!
Kiran Dodeja Smith says
Oh my gosh – this looks heavenly! I can’t wait to try it! I have yet to make a cake in my IP, so this is the perfect excuse. Thanks!
Shelby @Fitasamamabear says
I’ve never actually had sticky pudding but this sounds so freaking yummy!
Tessa Simpson says
wowzer, delectable!! Dates are a natural caramel…I can’t get enough of them!! Whipped into a cake with that toffee drizzle, too much!!
I think you’re right, probably too much LOL, but so lovely for something special. 😉 Thank you!! 🙂
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.
Aw yes, I’m so glad you reminded my of the word “aril”. 🙂 Thanks, Emily!
Elaina Newton (@TheRisingSpoon) says
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!
Thanks, Elaina! Aw, your experience sounds wonderful! Yeah, true, I love how rich and deep dates are, not just sweet.
Savory Thoughts says
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!!!!
Katherine Beck says
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.
Carrie Olson says
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.
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!!
Raia Todd (@RaiasRecipes) says
This looks so delicious! I’m excited to try it!
I would like to try this recipe but don’t have an Instant Pot. Do you think, I can still make it?
Hi Marianne, yes, it will work fine. 🙂 If you wish to bake it, do 350 degrees Fahrenheit until well puffed and golden brown, bounces back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Best wishes and happy holidays!
Marion Fawcett says
Do you think this would freeze well so it could be made ahead?
Hi Marion, I do think the cake will freeze beautifully! I would make the toffee sauce for the top ahead of time and put it in the fridge, and then gently warm to put on the defrosted cake. 🙂
I cannot wait to make this for Christmas dessert! Do you think I could use an egg substitute? My daughter can’t have any eggs…usually with only 1 called for in the recipe it still turns out?
Hi Amy, great! You could try using a flax egg or a gelatin egg. You are right; usually only one egg in a recipe works well with subs. I wish I’d tried it myself already to be able to tell you more, but I’m sorry; I haven’t.
Let us know if you try it how it turns out, though; thank you! 🙂
I made this recipe for our Christmas dessert yesterday and everyone loved it, including the ones who don’t eat GF. I made the recipe exactly as written but baked the cakes in three tall 4″ cake pans for mini cakes, adjusting the cooking times. They came out beautifully and looked adorable. The caramel sauce took longer to simmer/thicken for me than the recipe stated. It was even better and thicker today so next time I’ll make it a day ahead. Delicious and a nice change for our holiday meal! Thank you!