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Upside-Down Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

When mom and I get on the phone, inevitably the conversation turns to what Dr. Oz talked about on his latest show or what Martha has been whipping up in the kitchen. I don't have a television, so thankfully she keeps me in the loop! The other week she gave me the mouth-watering play-by-play of Martha and Nora Singley making this Upside-Down Sticky Toffee Pudding. I had never had sticky pudding—much less heard of it. My interest was peaked. I had to investigate.

Scanning the recipe over at www.marthastewart.com, I had a good feeling that it could be modified to be free of egg, gluten, dairy and refined sugar without a hitch. Three sticky pudding's later I think I have it. And, so without further ado, here is my holiday gift to you—Upside-Down Sticky Toffee Pudding. If you make it, I'd love to know how it measures up to other sticky puddings you've had. The first rounds were just a bit too sticky for my taste. This one is a bit more sticky-bready. Thank you Nora and Martha for the inspiration. And thank you my beautiful readers, my heart swells with gratitude for you ... it's been a great year! 

Gluten-Free Upside-Down Sticky Toffee Pudding

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Easily Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free |  Sesame-Free |  Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  50 minutes


For the Toffee Sauce (this is a GREAT sauce to put on anything!):
1/2 cup soy-free Earth Balance® BUTTERY SPREAD
1/2 cup COCONUT SUGAR, powdered
1/4 cup pure MAPLE SYRUP
2 teaspoons pure, gluten-free VANILLA EXTRACT
1 small can (5.46 fluid ounces) COCONUT MILK

For the Pudding:
4 ounces or approximately 4-5 large pitted MEDJOOL DATES
3/4 cup superfine brown or white RICE FLOUR (I use Authentic Foods Superfine Brown Rice Flour ... purchase here)
1/4 cup POTATO STARCH (not flour)
1-1/2 teaspoon BAKING POWDER
1/2 teaspoon BAKING SODA
1/4 teaspoon NUTMEG
1/8 teaspoon CARDAMOM (optional)
Pinch of CLOVES
1/4 cup soy-free Earth Balance® BUTTERY SPREAD
1/2 cup COCONUT SUGAR, powdered
2 CHIA EGGS (see notes)
1/4 cup pure MAPLE SYRUP
1 tablespoon pure, gluten-free VANILLA EXTRACT
1 cup chopped WALNUTS, pecans or macadamia nuts (optional), reserve 1/4 cup for garnish


For the toffee sauce:

  1. Melt buttery spread in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and maple syrup.
  2. Bring to boil and immediately reduce to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  3. Add vanilla and coconut milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until a thick sauce forms, about 5 minutes. Keep warm until ready to use.

For the pudding:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Oil one 8-inch cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Simmer dates with 1/2 cup water in small saucepan until dates have softened and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Transfer dates to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves.
  5. In a large bowl, beat butter, powdered coconut sugar, and chia eggs on high for one minute. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and date mixture; beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Batter will be thick and sticky.
  6. Pour 1/2 cup toffee sauce into bottom of prepared cake pan; sprinkle with nuts. Dollop batter over toffee and nuts and smooth top with wet fingers or spatula.
  7. Transfer to oven and bake until deep golden and a bamboo skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

To assemble:

  1. Remove pudding from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes.
  2. Run a small knife around edge of pan and invert pudding onto serving plate.
  3. Top with 1/2 cup of additional toffee sauce; allow to cool slightly. Some of the nuts and toffee may stick to the bottom of the pan when inverted. This extra drizzle of toffee sauce and sprinkling of reserved 1/4 cup nuts will cover any boo boos.
  4. Serve warm with coconut cream whipped topping and drizzle of remaining toffee sauce.


Sugar Alternative: This recipe should work fine with brown sugar in place of coconut sugar.

Flour Replacement: Any xanthan-free gluten-free all-purpose flour blend should work as well. Replace rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour with 1-1/4 cups of your favorite all-purpose GF flour blend.

Chia Egg: 1 tablespoon ground white chia seed + 3 tablespoons water = 1 chia egg. Allow to stand 2-3 minutes. Chia seeds are easily ground using a coffee/spice grinder or high-powered blender.

Salt: If using unsalted butter in place of Earthbalance, you may want to add a pinch of sauce to both the cake batter and the toffee sauce.

Reader Comments (14)

OMG, Lexie, you have totally outdone yourself!! I have to make this! I've never had sticky pudding, either, but now I will. :D

Do you think coconut nectar would work instead of maple syrup? I think that's the only ingredient I'm not supposed to have right now. What a great dessert this will be!!

Enjoy the holidays! xo Ricki

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Ricki ... are YOU asking a substitution question : ) HA! Yes, I think the nectar would work fine. Probably would not need to boil the sauce as long since it is already so thick. And maybe add a tad bit of water to the batter? And I HOPE someone will play with this using coconut oil in place of earth balance. I just did not have the time. If using coconut oil, I'd add a little salt to both the sauce and pudding batter. Okay NOW ... I just had an epiphany! These could easily easily be made into brownies. Oh boy ... sadly, I am sooo sick of being in the kitchen. So I have closed up shop for a week!


December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

Oh my, what a present to your lovely readers. This looks and sounds amazing. I'm with Ricki, I think this will be made in my kitchen! Holy moly. Thanks Lexie. Here's to another fabulous year. xo

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Om nom nom. What are the chances I can get you to mail me some?

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKalinda

I, am definitely making this for Christmas desert! And yes, I shall post feedback....
Cheers, and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Enjoy the Holidays.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeirdre

oh, hehe, ty for posting it....And, you did it as you said you would.....Cheers.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeirdre

I've been looking for a Christmas dinner dessert too-this is it!!

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

Oh my-Santa wants this pudding on Christmas Eve!!!

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura @ Gluten Free Pantry

Oh my! I LOVE sticky toffee pudding! Thank you for a great recipe! I will make this soon - and just have a quick question. Is this overly sweet? Could you cut down on some of the sugar/syrup to make it a bit less sweet?


December 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

We are making this recipe right now. In the instructions, the recipe calls for salt but there is no salt in the ingredients list.


December 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Made this for Christmas dinner and your mother-in-law was impressed:) I left the recipe on the counter and made sure to give you all of the credit! Was delicious and had none of the "off" flavor that sometimes accompanies alternative flours. I used brown sugar (instead of coconut sugar) and walnuts. A big hit!

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

My husband and I are gluten free, dairy free, egg free and others. This recipe looked delicious so we made it for ourselves on Christmas Day. It is wonderful!! Like Carole above, we used brown sugar instead of the coconut sugar because we didn't have it. Thanks so much. It was our treat for the holidays!!

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Carole and Nancy ... I loved the feedback! Thank you. It's reassuring to know that what I think tastes good others find good : ) And Carole, I am glad my MIL like it, too : ) xoLexie

December 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLexie

So delicious!

Yum! Thanks for sharing this.


December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Olson

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