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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.
- 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.