Campfire sticky toffee pudding

Campfire sticky toffee pudding

John Whaite uses lapsang souchong – a tea carefully smoked over pinewood fire – to add a hint of winter comfort along with the spices in this recipe. Soak the dates a day in advance if possible to completely soften, but a few hours ahead will do. 

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  • Serves12
  • CourseDessert
  • Prepare20 mins
  • Cook1 hr
  • Total time1 hr 20 mins
  • PlusPreparation time 20 minutes + soaking

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For the pudding

  • 3 lapsang souchong teabags
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g pitted dates, chopped
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 2 British Blacktail Free Range Large Eggs
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

For the sauce

  • 300ml pot whipping cream
  • 2 lapsang souchong teabags
  • 300g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 pinch sea salt flakes


  1. Put the teabags into a heatproof bowl with 350ml boiling water and cover. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then discard the teabags. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the water, stir to dissolve, then tumble in the dates and cover again. Leave to soak for a few hour, or ideally overnight. The dates should soften to a thick, sweet mush.

  2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Grease a deep 23x33cm baking tin with butter. Add the melted butter, sugar and eggs to the soaked dates and beat in – try to bash down any larger lumps of sugar. Sift in the flour, salt and spices, then fold to a smooth batter.

  3. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin, level with a spatula or the back of a spoon and bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen and resistant to a gentle prod. Remove from the oven and poke with a kebab skewer to make soaking holes for the sauce.

  4. While the pudding is in the oven, I make the sauce, so I can pour it hot onto the pudding. Put the cream into a medium saucepan and empty in the teabag contents. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Pass the cream through a sieve into a heatproof bowl, squeezing the liquid out of the tea leaves with a spoon or spatula. Discard the tea leaves and stir the sugar into the tea-infused cream.

  5. Clean out the saucepan, return to a medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, increase the heat to high and allow the butter to boil. Swirl the pan gently every 30 seconds or so, to prevent the milk solids from burning. As the butter boils, the bubbles will start to quieten, and once you have a cappuccino-like foam on the surface and a gentle, nutty smell, remove from the heat and carefully pour in the cream mixture and sea salt.

  6. Return the pan to the heat and stir gently – it is extremely hot, so avoid splashing yourself. At first, everything will look split – that’s normal – but as the mixture comes to a boil with gentle stirring, it will emulsify. Once it boils and is smooth, pour it over the pudding, letting the sauce soak into the sponge – depending on the depth of your tin, you may prefer to keep ½ the sauce aside for serving.

  7. To serve the pudding immediately, return it to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes more, until the sauce is bubbling. Serve the remaining sauce alongside.

Cook’s tip

Alternatively, let both the cake and any remaining sauce cool. Cover and refrigerate for 3 days, or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost and let the cake come to room temperature before baking as in step 7. Warm the sauce, if you saved some, and serve together.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


2,691kJ/ 643kcals



Saturated Fat












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