H.Y. Hanna
H.Y. Hanna
H.Y. Hanna
H.Y. Hanna

Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is a quintessential English dessert and this delicious recipe is courtesy of Kim Davis at Cinnamon and Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder blog, who has generously allowed me to share her recipe and beautiful photos with my readers. Thank you, Kim!

From Cinnamon and Sugar with a Bit of Murder:

I’m always excited when H.Y. Hanna releases a new book in her Oxford Tearoom Mystery series! You can count on a title with a clever pun, a good mystery, charming characters, and a delicious traditional British recipe. Her newest release, FOUR PUDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, the sixth book in the series, certainly does not disappoint!

Four Puddings and a FuneralThe protagonist, Gemma Rose, owns Little Stables Tearoom. Her fairly new business is taking off and she’s catering a funeral, the largest job she’s ever had. Mabel Cooke, one of the members of the “Old Biddies” group is overhead talking about how she would commit murder and not long afterwards, the widow drops dead at her husband’s funeral…just after eating some of the puddings Gemma’s tearoom provided. By the way, in England puddings refer to a variety of desserts and isn’t limited to the custards American’s call pudding. 

The four “Old Biddies” bring lighthearted humor to the story with their unhealthy interest in solving murders, especially when one of their own becomes a suspect. I love how they drag Gemma into trouble when she’s only trying to keep them from being arrested. It makes for some very humorous situations.

H.Y. Hanna has a wonderful cast of characters in each of her books, including her darling tabby, Muesli. In FOUR PUDDINGS AND A FUNERAL we are also introduced to an adorable hedgehog, Pricklebum, and as a result learn a bit about the need to protect these creatures due to loss of habitat and other issues. The plot is well developed along with the subplots, including Gemma’s relationship with Devlin O’Connor. There’s something fishy going on with him but Gemma is afraid to confront him or find out the truth. It adds to the tension in the book, wondering how it will be resolved. 

Of course running a tearoom means plenty of delectable treats! One of the desserts Gemma takes to the funeral is Sticky Toffee Pudding. I was honored when H.Y. Hanna asked me to provide the recipe for her book! When my husband and I visited England many years ago, we ate Sticky Toffee Pudding numerous times. Once we returned home, a friend of ours from England shared her recipe with us and now it’s the only cake my husband requests on his birthday each year. I’ve tweaked it to suit our needs and streamline the process, but it’s every bit as yummy as what we ate during our trip. I like the fact that it uses very little butter and instead, relies upon lots of dates to provide both moisture and sweetness. Of course what really makes the cake is the super simple toffee sauce. You’ll want to eat it on ice cream, apple pie, and just about any other desserts including Sticky Toffee Pudding!

(Recipe from the back of FOUR PUDDINGS AND A FUNERAL (Oxford Tearoom Mysteries ~ Book 6): )



1 cup (180g) dates, pitted and chopped

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (236ml) boiling water

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 cup (200g) dark brown sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups (230g) self-rising flour*


Toffee Sauce

1 cup (200g) dark brown sugar

3/4 cup (177ml) whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons butter



Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) / 180 degrees (C).


  • Place dates in a heat-proof dish and add baking soda.
  • Pour the boiling water over the dates and stir. Allow to cool to lukewarm temperature while you collect the remaining ingredients.
  • Grease an 8-inch round or 8-inch square cake tin and set aside.
  • Beat the butter and brown sugar together for about 2 minutes until the sugar is coated with the butter.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • Slowly stir in the flour, beating on low until just incorporated.
  • Using a hand-held stick immersion blender, pulse the date mixture until only small pieces of dates remain. (If you don’t have a stick blender, you can, instead, finely chop the dates prior to adding the baking soda and boiling water, then proceed with the recipe as follows.)
  • Add the cooled date mixture to the cake batter and mix to combine.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted into the center should come out mostly clean, with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a serving platter.


Toffee Sauce

  • Combine the brown sugar, whipping cream, vanilla extract, and butter in a small saucepan.
  • Bring just to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Cut the cake and serve on warmed plates. Pour a generous amount of the hot toffee sauce over the cake and garnish with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.



  • If you don’t have self-rising flour, substitute 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and add 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  • The toffee sauce can be made ahead of time. Refrigerate until needed then gently rewarm over low heat just before serving.


Download Printable PDF version

(© recipe copyright Kim Davis)


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