Sticky Toffee Rum Cake

Sticky Toffee Rum Cake <<

The Best of British challenge draws to an end this month. I will be sorry to see it go as it has prompted me to cook some great dishes. There was the stargazy pie from Cornwall, the Idle Hour burger from London, the butternut and sage yorkshire puddings from…well…Yorkshire, last month’s jugged steak from Dorset and my personal favourite, the pork and haggis meatloaf with honey, mustard and whisky apples inspired by Scotland.

For this, the final month we have been given free rein by hosts Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Fiona from The Face of New World Appliances to cook a British dish from any region in the country. Now in the face of too much choice I am always thoroughly indecisive so to speed things along a little, I closed my eyes and stabbed wildly at a map of the British Isles and came up with Cumbria.

Now I have only been to Cumbria twice, once to see my friend get married and once on a school trip many moons ago, so my knowledge of regional Cumbrian dishes is limited. I do know, however, that Cumbria claims to be the home of sticky toffee pudding which apparently originated from the Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel in the Lake District back in the ‘60s. What is probably less well know is that Cumbria used to be the centre of the UK rum trade with rum being shipped from the West Indies to the port of Whitehaven on the west coast. Being a big fan of both sticky toffee pudding and rum I figured that there might well be merit in combining the two.

So after much experimentation, the sticky toffee rum cake was born. A lightly spiced traybake containing sticky rum-soaked dates, topped with a creamy rum icing (unashamedly nicked from Dan Lepard’s Pumpkin Chocolate Mud Cake) and drizzled with a rum-laced toffee sauce and a sprinkling of toasted pecan nuts. Sounds good? It is, so here’s the recipe:

Sticky Toffee Rum Cake

For the cake:

  • 150g dates, roughly chopped
  • 75ml dark rum
  • 75ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 185g butter, softened
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

For the icing:

  • 25g butter
  • 275g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50g pecan nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

For the toffee sauce:

  • 25g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • sea salt

1.  Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line a 20 x 20cm baking tray with baking parchment. Put the dates, rum, milk, bicarb and coffee in a small pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside for 15 mins to cool.

2.  Whizz the date mixture to a smooth purée in a food processor then scrape into a large mixing bowl. Tip in the butter, flour, brown sugar, eggs, spices and vanilla. Quickly beat together the cake ingredients with an electric whisk until smooth. Pour into the baking tray. Bake for about 25-30 mins until deep golden brown and a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool.

3.  For the icing, melt the butter then beat in the icing sugar, rum and cream. Spread over the top of the cake, sprinkle with the pecan nuts and leave to set.

4.  Make the sauce by putting the butter, sugar and cream in a small pan with a pinch of salt and heating slowly until the butter has melted, then turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Boil for about 4 minutes, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cool for 1 minute then add the rum. Leave to cool for a couple more minutes before drizzling on top of the cake. Once the toffee has set a little, cut the cake into squares for serving.


  1. Oh, I have some leftover dates that I need to use up. With any luck, I have enough for this cake since it is calling my name right now. It looks really delicious — and sticky toffee pudding is one of my all-time favourite desserts!

  2. it looks so delicious and tasty. i love to read the directions here to prepare it. i enjoy to eat cakes with a cup of tea and will now try this one too by following the directions. thanks for sharing.

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