Sticky Toffee Pudding is my favourite British dessert. Although it’s quite commonly served up and down the country, one taste of it’s soft, subtly sweet sponge, paired with a warm toffee sauce and some kind of dairy-based sweet accompaniment explains its popularity. When I went paleo, I initially thought my days of eating this dessert were numbered, but rather than say goodbye to a new favourite, I just paleofied it instead, making it gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free, but not free from taste.
While you may be celebrating and thinking “OMG a healthy Sticky Toffee Pudding!!!!!!” beware: just because it’s paleo doesn’t mean it’s healthy. While paleo endorses real food, made with real ingredients and the elimination of sugar grains and dairy, the one negative aspect of paleo in my books is that you can still have sugar issues and deal with cravings without actually eating any real sugar. Some paleo-approved ingredients, like honey and maple syrup, still raise blood glucose levels akin to sugar; dried fruit elicits the same result. Furthermore, despite the paleo moniker, this is still cake with a toffee sauce, and although its name has a different ring, this recipe doesn’t pack a nutritional punch. It should still be made for special occasions only.
This is also why I employ a Mark Sisson approach to paleo.
And because I follow a lower carb, higher fat version of paleo – only eating starchy tubers when I need them to fuel a higher intensity or hilly run – I bend the rules a bit when it comes to sweeteners. I don’t use honey or maple syrup, but rather a more primal, more ketogenic xylitol. While some Paleo Police would quickly jump to declare “That’s not paleo, that’s not real food,” I declare “On the contrary my ancestral friend.” Xylitol is made of birch tree sap. It’s non-GMO and barely impacts blood glucose levels at all compared to honey and maple syrup, making it an ideal sweetener for Type 2 diabetics. It can cause upset stomach and diarrhoea if consumed in larger amounts; even if you have a more sensitive constitution, this recipe’s amount of xylitol still won’t give you an upset stomach. Finally, xylitol is also good for your teeth. Its many positives are the reason I use it over the paleo alternatives.
While Sticky Toffee Pudding isn’t a traditional Christmas dessert, it definitely fits the category of ‘Winter Warmer,’ which is why I’m posting the recipe now. If you want to make it around this time of year, go for it!
Notes on this dessert and recipe: if you don’t have a 24cm spring form cake tin, you will still need a larger tin than a standard 20cm layer cake tin because the recipe makes more batter. Sticky Toffee Pudding is traditionally one cake, not two smaller layer cakes together. I also suggest making the toffee sauce a few hours before serving to allow it to thicken. It can then easily be reheated to serve.
*All quantities are in both UK/European grams and US cups.
Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
For the cake (sponge):
225g / 2 ¼ cups ground almonds
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice (All Spice)
225g / 1 ½ cups chopped dates
250 mL / 1 cup + 1 tbsp black tea, already steeped and unsweetened
100g / ½ cup butter
125g / ¾ cup xylitol*
1 tsp vanilla
*You can try honey if you want, however I’m not sure how it will turn out considering it will make the batter more liquid. If you use honey, please comment below on how your cake turns out.
1.Grease and line a 24cm spring form cake tin. Preheat your oven to 170’C/350’F.
2. In a saucepan on the hob (stove top), bring the tea and dates to a boil. Cook for 1 minute or until the dates soften and the mixture melds together. Set aside to cool.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and xylitol. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and mix well. Then, add the date-tea mixture, and again, mix well. Transfer to your cake pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake is ready when an knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
For the toffee sauce:
225g honey / ½ cup honey
100g / ½ cup butter
225mL / 1 cup very fattening coconut milk
½ tsp vanilla
1.In a sauce pan on the hob, bring all ingredients to a boil at medium heat. Allow to boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
2. Set aside and leave for about an hour to thicken. Store in a glass jar in the fridge. This will last for over a week.
To serve, pour warm toffee sauce over top of the cake, then top with coconut cream, coconut milk, Coyo, a paleo custard or ice cream. Enjoy with a cup of tea, sitting by the fire 🙂
What’s your favourite winter dessert?
What’s your favourite paleofied dessert?