Sticky Toffee Pudding – a recipe from Ireland

The story about this recipe from Ireland.

There is a story behind this recipe, and here it is.  In December 2014, I was invited to a brunch in the home of my maternal cousin Ruth Beitzel in western Maryland. She told me I could bring five guests with me.  I invited my sisters Rachel and Alice. Alice brought her daughter Christi and I brought my girls, Sarah Beth and Rebekah.  At the end of our brunch, Ruth served this pudding and sauce. We begged her for the recipe!

Chopped dates, real butter, and self-rising flour along with seasonings and spices make this a delicious dessert. And the sauce?  Real butter, sugar, and heavy cream stirred together over low heat leaves one with a scrumptious sauce topping.

toffee pudding

Ever the gracious hostess, Ruth gave the recipe to us. She also shared the story of how she got this recipe.

Too good not to share!

A few years back, she traveled in Ireland (the birthplace of her paternal ancestors). She was served this pudding/sauce at a restaurant and, to her delight, was given the recipe.  (She is savvy that way, and I am not at all surprised that she got them to give her the recipe.)

I asked Ruth if I could post the recipe on this blog, and she said, “It’s too good not to share!”

toffee pudding

My cousin Ruth Beitzel, my daughters Sarah Beth and Rebekah, and my niece Christi Orendorf in Ruth’s home

In late January of 2015, the same sisters came to Virginia to help celebrate my 60th birthday (now you know how old I am.) They helped prepare this cake (sticky toffee pudding) and sauce; we served it to some fifty guests that evening.

To our surprise and delight, even the men kept coming back for seconds. One of my girlfriends said, “This is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth.”

Try it. I won’t be surprised if you, too, will think it’s the best (or one of the best things) you’ve put in your mouth.

I am including the original recipe and our conversions.

toffee pudding


Sticky Toffee Pudding - a recipe from Ireland
Recipe type: Sticky Toffee Pudding - from Ireland
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
This is the original recipe as it came to me from my cousin, who got it while visiting in Ireland. I am including the original recipe and our conversions. When you make the sauce, be aware that it will take you 30 minutes. Stir it constantly and add the cream a little bit at a time. It is worth every minute you spend stirring the sauce!
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 10 fl oz. water - [1¼ cups wter]
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 oz butter - [1/4 cup butter]
  • 8 oz caster sugar - 1 cup sugar (put sugar in blender and blend until fine but not powdered to equal one cup)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 8 oz self-rising flour - 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • SAUCE ingredients: 3 oz. Butter, 3 oz. Soft Brown Sugar, 20 fl oz. Double Cream
  1. Preheat oven to 160˚C (320˚F)
  2. In a saucepan, simmer dates and water until the dates are soft (approx. 5 minutes), then add baking powder
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl cream together the sugar and butter until soft and nearly white
  4. Add the eggs to the butter mixture slowly
  5. Add the vanilla essence to the butter mixture
  6. Fold the flour into the butter mixture until just combined
  7. Add the date mixture and stir until just combined
  8. Put into a greased baking tray and bake for approx. 35 minutes or until a skewer stuck in the middle comes out clean
  9. SAUCE directions - melt butter, add brown sugar, then add double cream a little at a time, stirring constantly until it thickens*


toffee pudding

Simmering the sauce forever and ever!

**Confession:  the day of my birthday party, the sauce didn’t want to thicken. We had never made this before and didn’t know what we were doing. My sister added 1 teaspoon cornstarch (dissolved in a little of the sauce and then added to the rest of the sauce).  It thickened quickly.  We don’t know if it was the cornstarch or the timing!


toffee pudding




Best Brownie in a Mug

With cooler evenings approaching,this brownie in a mug is the perfect evening treat or dessert.  This recipe uses real butter and cream cheese – and I’m certain you will think it worth the effort.

Place butter and cream cheese into a microwave measuring cup and heat for thirty seconds.  While that is happening, combine the dry ingredients.  Then add milk and vanilla to the butter/cream cheese mixture.  Combine your wet and dry ingredients.

Place into a microwavable mug or a 1/2 pint jar.  A taller, narrow mug or jar works best.

the unbaked brownie

Heat* in microwave for 90 seconds or less.  Watch your brownie carefully to make certain it doesn’t rise over the top of the mug.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream if you’d like.


*1150 Watt Microwave

Best Brownie in a Mug
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
In less than three minutes, your brownie in a mug can be ready to serve. Butter and cream cheese add an extra delight to this recipe.
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 to 1½ Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon.baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients together
  2. Place butter and cream cheese in microwavable bowl/measuring cup and microwave for 30 seconds
  3. Add milk and vanilla to butter mixture
  4. Mix wet and dry ingredients together
  5. Place in microwavable mug (or use a ½ pint canning jar)
  6. Heat in microwave* for 90 seconds
  7. Remove from microwave
  8. Garnish with whipped topping if desired
  9. *my microwave is 1150 Watts

Cow Tales

Every spring, my mother bought a cow with the plan to butcher it in the fall. We didn’t have a farm, but we lived in the country on what used to be a farm. My mother chose a cow that would be butchered come fall because of her age. We milked the cow all summer long (well, every one of my sisters did).  Mama made butter from the cream of that milk.  In the winter, beef roasts and hamburger meals graced our kitchen table, all of these products from that cow.

The cows always came from another farmer in the community – one who cared about this widow and probably sold the cow for a lot less than she was worth. There was only one problem with these cows: they were not used to being milked by hand.  I’m here to tell you that, while you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you can teach a cow to be milked by hand – usually.


When they arrived in our pasture, the cows had to learn what it meant to be milked by hand. Sometimes the former owner visited our place for several milkings just to keep the cow calm while my mother or an older sister sat on a one-legged stool to squirt milk into that milk bucket. What a gift those farmers gave us! Usually, in time, the cow and  my mother’s blood pressure settled down and when milking time came, our cow trotted up the  hill to find the feed in the trough and stand still while she was milked.


One cow, however, was the exception.  Rebellious and spiteful, she kicked and fought each milking. One day I went along to the pasture to lend emotional support to my sister Rhoda.  I was smart enough to stay outside the fence while the cow endured the milking. Just as she was finishing, Rhoda reached to pull the milk bucket out from under the cow.  This time, the cow decided enough was enough. With a deliberate kick of her leg, she upset the entire contents of the milk bucket onto the ground and ran down the hill.

Let me tell you, it was the wrong thing for this cow to do.

The cow failed to reckon with Rhoda’s temper, for Rhoda promptly ran down the hill after her and grabbed her tail.  Then, wasting not a minute, Rhoda dragged that poor animal up the hill by the tail, both of them walking backward all the way to the top of the hill.  What a sight!

It was one of those you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it moments.  I was absolutely no help because I was doubled over with laughter.  Rhoda proceeded to pull that cow to the respective spot and placed the milk bucket under her once more.  How there was any milk left in that udder is beyond me, but Rhoda managed to squeeze some more milk from it while the cow stood perfectly still. She stood there meekly as if to say, “I won’t ever do that again.”  She never did.

Alas, a few days later, Rhoda took a blanket and library book to the same cow pasture. She stretched out on her blanket next to the creek and read to her heart’s content.  When it was time to head back to the house, Rhoda picked up her blanket and library book and meandered through the pasture. Suddenly, she met up with the same cow.  This time, the cow was not docile.  She kicked up her heels and ran after Rhoda.

In an attempt to pick up speed, Rhoda dropped the blanket and ran. Looking back, she saw the cow gaining ground.  In desperation, she dropped the library book and continued to run, reaching the fence and climbing over the gate before the cow arrived.  I think it was that incline on the same hill that saved Rhoda; she climbed that hill quickly while the cow trudged along behind.

The blanket and book stayed in the pasture for a few days until Rhoda found the nerve to tell us what had happened.  Since none of us were affected or would be responsible to pay for the library book if it was damaged, we thought it was hilarious.

Once again, I escorted my sister to the pasture, where she found both the blanket and the library book, practically unscathed. This time, the cow left us alone.


It wasn’t until later that I realized what a gift our mother gave us.  Not the cows, mind you, but the lessons.

Our place was  not equipped to keep cattle over the snowy, blustery winters, but we could handle a cow in the summer; so we did. Mama could make butter from the cream, and she did. There is nothing like home-churned butter over fresh out of the oven homemade bread! Come fall, in preparation for winter, Mama had the cow slaughtered for meat for the winter.

Instead of choosing federal assistance, my mother did what she could to provide for us. Those lessons of hard work and paying what we owe are still with us today. Lessons of perseverance and not giving in – or giving up – are a part of her children because she modeled that in the seasons of life.  One of the ways she did it was through those cows.

You might not have cows in a pasture at your  house, but you’re teaching as you live life daily. When you think those values dear to you might be missed by your offspring, I  hope you’ll remember this story.  Keep milking your cows and keep churning butter,  for your example will teach more than any words can say.