Sunday, November 15, 2009


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Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

It's been a blustery, soaking-wet few days here on the BC coast, and the other evening we just felt like something hot, gooey and sweet. We decided to use up a few Weight Watcher's points on the following treat, which is a quick and easy, low-fat and vegan version of a popular British dessert, Sticky Toffee Pudding. (I have made a vegan version of that traditional dessert, which is very good but requires more time and steps.  The recipe is in my new book "World Vegan Feast")

This version is based on the North American pudding cake, which starts with a thickish batter, over which you sprinkle sugar and then pour hot liquid over the whole thing. After baking, you are left with a light cake floating on top of a gooey sauce.  This recipe is not meant to replace the authentic British Sticky Toffee Pudding!

When I first made a pudding cake for DH, he called it Pouding au Chomeur. He’s from Quebec and he said it was a very common everyday dessert and the name translated to "Unemployment Pudding”.  Evidently it appeared in many permutations all over North America during the Great Depression of the 1930's-- presumably because it required only inexpensive ingredients and no eggs or even milk. I’ve also heard it called Poor Man’s Pudding, Depression Cake and Depression Pudding. I have a version of the Quebec recipe in my new book "World Vegan Feast".

Whatever you call it, it’s a great dessert for vegans because of being made without eggs, and you can use water or any non-dairy milk for the liquid in the cake batter. It’s also a great vehicle for experimentation-- witness this version.

Printable Recipe

Servings: 6

Dry Mix:
1 1/4 cups wholewheat or white pastry flour
(do not use regular wholewheat or unbleached  flour or the cake may be tough)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped pecans (this isn't traditional, but it's good!)
Wet Mix:
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Topping that turns into Sauce:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon Earth Balance

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8" square pan with oil from a pump sprayer.

Whisk together Dry Mix ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the chopped dates and optional pecans, if you are using them. Mix them in with your fingers so that the dates don't clump up all together.

Whisk together the Wet Mix ingredients in a smaller bowl. Pour the Wet Mix into the Dry Mix and stir briefly just to mix into a batter. Spread into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on top of the cake batter.

Mix the boiling water and Earth Balance together. Pour gently over the cake batter and sugar, dribbling it evenly over the batter, not pouring it all into one spot. DON'T MIX THE WATER IN! It looks like a swamp, but, trust me this will be fine!

Bake 35 minutes. The cake will be on top, with a sticky "toffee" sauce on the bottom. Serve warm (maybe with your favorite vegan vanilla "ice cream"??).

VARIATION: For Praline Pudding Cake, omit the dates and use the optional 1/2 cup chopped pecans instead.

Nutrition Facts without pecans:
Nutrition (per serving):
325.8 calories; 7% calories from fat; 2.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 133.2mg sodium; 591.1mg potassium; 75.2g carbohydrates; 5.0g fiber; 53.1g sugar; 70.3g net carbs; 4.7g protein; 5.9 points.

Nutrition Facts made with pecans:
Nutrition (per serving)
: 388.6 calories; 20% calories from fat; 9.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 133.2mg sodium; 628.3mg potassium; 76.5g carbohydrates; 5.9g fiber; 53.5g sugar; 70.6g net carbs; 5.6g protein; 7.7 points.



Vegan Epicurean said...

The cake looks and sounds great! Thanks so much for posting the recipe. I think this cake would make a great holiday dessert.


Tiffany C. said...

YUM! This looks amazing. I love sticky buns--I use a similar topping-turned-sauce for the "sticky" part--so I can see myself loving this dessert, too. :)

Marie said...

Wow! Un pouding chômeur is my boyfriend's favorite dessert. We both Québecois and I have forgotten how good this is. Your version sounds yummy, Bryanna, thanks!

Andrea said...

I was wishing for something like this the other day when the damp and rain were starting to get to me. I'll definitely file this recipe away for the next time "something gooey" strikes.

blessedmama said...

Hello, Bryanna,

This looks warm and yummy. Thanks for the recipe!

cake said...

I love to eat cake.

Dennis said...


Bryanna, you did it again. This pudding cake was so quick and delicious. Yes,it looks like a swamp after you pour on the boiling water, but 30 minutes in the oven transforms it into a delicious, goey, treat. It's especially good warm, right out of the oven. Thanks for sharing these healthy, delicious recipes with us.

Dawne said...

Whoa - I first had S.T.P. in 1990 when doing a year in undergrad in England and LOVED it. I'd found a recipe for it and have made it for myself over the years and now that I'm vegan, I am excited to try it again in its new and undoubtedly improved vegan form! Thanks again, Bryanna!

Maija Haavisto said...

I made this cake a few weeks ago and sadly have to say I didn't like it (I've never had the "original" so can't compare). The texture wasn't very nice, it tasted too "healthy" and "cheap" to me. I'm planning to try your other toffee pudding cake some other time, I'm confident I'll like it better.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Sorry you didn't like it, Maija! Maybe it's something only N. Americans can appreciate! It's certainly not meant to be a "refined' sort of dessert!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Dawne, I have a vegan version of the English dessert in my book "World Vegan Feast"-- this dessert is really a version of a North American "pudding cake", which makes its own sauce.