Sticky Toffee Pudding Layer Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This 6-layer beauty with the taste of liquid gold dripping off the top is purely decadent. Not actually gold, but an amazingly delicious toffee sauce poured over the top of the cake as well as stirred into the Buttercream.

The cake is a version of my traditional Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe, loaded with medjool dates, baked in 3 layers then split into 6 layers. Ermine Buttercream is one of my favorite frostings and adds the perfect flavor balance to this cake with golden caramel spirals as the finishing touch.

This is a wonderful cake to celebrate the fall and winter seasons, and a perfect cake to bake for the holidays.
Recipe type: Dessert | Butter Layer Cake | Toffee Sauce | Caramel Spirals | Ermine Buttercream
Serves: 10 to 12 servings
Small amount of vegetable shortening and flour for preparing pans
Cake Batter:
  • 12 ounces medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped (about 22 whole dates)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Toffee Sauce:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Ermine Toffee Buttercream:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup Toffee Sauce
Caramel Spirals:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding Layer Cake
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding Layer Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour. Tip: Use cake strips around the pans to help ensure the cake rises evenly. Make a cake strip with a length of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap. Fold the strip lengthwise until it is 2 to 3 inches wide. Wrap the strip around the outside of the pan and secure it with a metal paper clip or tape.
Cake Batter:
  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine chopped dates, baking soda, and boiling water. Let sit about 30 minutes or until the dates have softened and absorbed most of the water, and the water has cooled to lukewarm.
  2. Sticky Toffee Pudding Layer Cake
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the granulated sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 2 to 3 minutes to add all of the sugar, then add the brown sugar one or two tablespoons at a time, taking an additional 3 to 4 minutes, beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugars, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each egg until thoroughly mixed. Add the vanilla along with the last egg.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add about half of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add most of the water left with the dates. Tip: Strain the water from the dates by tipping the bowl and using a large spoon or spatula to hold the dates back out of the way as the water drains out. It’s OK if a few of the date pieces fall into the batter.
  7. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix just until blended.
  8. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, fold in the dates and any remaining water.
  9. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon. Bake 30 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Tip: Wrap the cooled cake layers in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate until ready to use. Chilled layers are easier to torte, or split.
  10. Sticky Toffee Pudding Layer Cake
Toffee Sauce:
  1. In a medium-sized heavy bottom pan, combine butter, cream, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, set aside to cool to room temperature. Toffee sauce will thicken as it cools.
Caramel Spirals:
  1. Line 2 large baking sheets or jelly roll pans with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper. Place the pans on a wire rack to protect your countertop from the hot caramel. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. When the mixture begins to simmer, cover the pan tightly with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes to allow condensation to form and run down the inside of the pan to help wash away stray sugar crystals.
  3. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 330 degrees F, a light caramel stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches 300 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 330 degrees.
  4. Let the hot caramel sit and cool to 300 degrees F, about 5 minutes. The caramel should be thick like molasses.
  5. Carefully scoop out the caramel using a teaspoon and pour the caramel off the tip of the spoon onto the baking sheet, creating spirals of caramel. The caramel will start to harden immediately. Be careful, the caramel is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it. Repeat with the remaining caramel.
  6. If the caramel becomes too cool and hardened before you finish making all the spirals, place the pan over low heat to reheat the caramel.
  7. Let caramel spirals sit until hardened, 15 to 20 minutes.
Ermine Toffee Buttercream:
  1. In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, add the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Using a wire whisk, slowly whisk in the milk, whisking until the sauce is smooth and free of lumps. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Boil and whisk for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  2. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl of an electric mixer and set aside to cool to room temperature, or a tepid temperature. While cooling, whisk frequently to keep the sauce smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla to the cooled sauce and beat with the electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and gradually add the butter 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, beating about 20 seconds between each addition; with the last addition of butter beat until all the butter is fully incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat the buttercream 4 to 5 minutes or until the buttercream is light and somewhat fluffy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Measure 3½ cups buttercream and place into a separate mixing bowl. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in ½ cup of the cooled toffee sauce to create the Ermine Toffee Buttercream to use between the cake layers. Reserve the remaining plain buttercream for the crumb-coat and top of the cake and top decorations.
  1. Using a long-serrated kitchen knife, split each cake into 2 horizontal layers.
  2. Place one of the bottom halves of the layers on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula spread about ¾ cup Ermine Toffee Buttercream over the layer. Repeat with the next four layers, filling each layer with about ¾ cup of the Ermine Toffee Buttercream.
  3. Place the last cake layer on top, upside down so the flat bottom of the cake is facing up to make a nice flat top.
  4. Crumb coat the cake by covering the sides with a thin layer of the plain buttercream; smooth with an offset spatula, removing excess buttercream. The cake should show through the crumb coat in places for the naked cake look.
  5. Spread a thick layer of plain buttercream, about ¼ inch thick, over the top of the cake and smooth the top. This top layer of buttercream will give the toffee sauce a nice flat surface to drip from.
  6. Refrigerate the cake until the crumb coat and top of cake is firm, about 30 minutes. Tip: A chilled cake helps control the toffee sauce drips from going all the way down to the bottom of the cake.
Toffee Drip and Decorations:
  1. Warm the toffee sauce if necessary until it is pourable, but not too warm. The toffee sauce needs to be thick and just barely fluid to create drips.
  2. Use a kitchen spoon to place small spoonfuls of toffee sauce around the top edge of the chilled cake and let the toffee sauce drip down the sides of the cake. Tip: if the toffee sauce isn’t dripping, then briefly warm the toffee sauce so it is more fluid. If the toffee sauce is just dripping off to the bottom of the cake, then the toffee sauce is too warm and needs to be cooled before using.
  3. When the drips are completed, spoon additional toffee sauce in the center of the cake to fill-in the top, smooth and spread evenly with a small offset spatula.
  4. Prepare a piping bag with a large star tip, fill the bag with any remaining plain buttercream and pipe swirls around the top of the cake. Tip: I used a 1M size tip for the swirls.
  5. Place some of the caramel spirals between the buttercream swirls and around the sides of the cake as desired. You will probably have more spirals than you need. Use extra spirals to serve with slices of cake if desired.
  6. Sticky Toffee Pudding Layer Cake
  7. Sources: | Mary Berry
Recipe Notes
Pan: three 8-inch round layer cake pans Pan Prep: Greased and Floured Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Help: Cake Hints and Tips

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