Oct 20

Earl Grey Sticky Toffee Pudding with Whiskey Caramel

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It was my Dad’s birthday this past weekend and his go-to dessert request is Sticky Toffee Pudding. I was far from upset to get the request because I also LOVE Sticky Toffee Pudding. The moist spicy cake, swimming in a pool of hot caramel? Umm, yup. So good.

To customize this cake  for my Dad, a Scotsman, I added some Scotch Whiskey to the caramel sauce. The Scotch gives the caramel a more complex flavour and balanced perfectly with the cake.

Earl Grey Sticky Toffee Pudding

As I mentioned above, my Dad is from Scotland so I really wanted to give this whole cake a British twist. The whiskey brings the flavour to Scotland, but I was trying to think of an interesting way to give another nod to my British roots. That’s when I thought to infuse Earl Grey tea flavour into the cake. It really worked well. There is a very subtle Earl Grey tea note that you pick up when eating the cake. It fits perfectly with this flavour profile. As you will see in the instructions, I used steeped tea in the cake batter, but I also opened up a tea bag and poured it into the dry ingredients as a spice. Really fun!

Ingredients for this Sticky Toffee Pudding

Earl Grey Tea – I got this idea from one of my culinary icons and fellow Masterchef Canada alumnus, Mary Berg. Mary is amazing and in her Sticky Toffee recipe, she uses Chai tea which I thought was just so cool. Playing off that I used Earl Grey for a more subtle flavour which worked really nicely.

Dates – I use a ton of dates in my baking. A very easy way to add sweetness without adding more refined sugars. The dates adds a great depth of flavour to this recipe.

Milk – I always use whole milk when baking. Fat is flavour; never be shy of it. If we are going to have a piece of cake, have a piece of cake. Not the time for skim milk here.

All-Purpose flour – Standard flour is all you need for this recipe.

Baking Powder and Baking Soda – This is what gives the cake the ability to rise.

Butter – I love making cakes using butter. I feel like you can notice the flavour difference and adds a slight more density to the cake compared to oil, which I like.

Sugars – You will need both brown and white sugar for both the cake and the caramel.

Spices – Sticky Toffee Cakes are spiced cakes. Lots of cinnamon, ground ginger, Chinese five-spice, and nutmeg is the mix I use.

Cream – You will need cream when making the amazing caramel sauce.

Whiskey – Use what you have on hand. I used a Scotch that I had in my cupboard. The better the quality the better the flavour.

Ready in: 1h 30m
Prep: 30m
Servings: 10-12


  • For the cake:
  • 3 Earl Grey Tea Bags
  • 1 1/4 cups of boiling water
  • 2 1/2 cups of chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter (unsalted ideally)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • Whiskey Caramel Sauce:
  • 2 to 4 oz of whiskey (Really depends on how whiskey forward you want to flavour)
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream (35%)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Additional options:
  • Serve with Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease and line a 13X9 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Okay, next up get a kettle boiling. Place 2 tea bags into a heat-safe bowl and pour 1 1/4 cups boiling water over the tea bags. Let steep for about 5 minutes. When the tea has steeped, remove the tea bags and add in the chopped dates. Cover with plastic wrap and let steep for an additional 5 minutes. Next stir in the milk, baking soda, and cover again with the plastic and allow to come to room temperature.
  3. While the dates are softening, let's kick on with the dry ingredients. In a large bowl sift together the flour and the baking powder. Next add in the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, Chinese five-spice, and the inside contents of the remaining teabag. Mix until combined.
  4. Using a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment or in a bowl using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and the brown and granulated sugar. Take your time here to ensure the sugars dissolve as much as possible. Beat on medium-high for 5 minutes. Next up, beat in the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Lastly, add in the vanilla.
  5. Now, let's start adding in the dry ingredients. Start by mixing in about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bowl, followed by 1/2 of the date mixture. Repeat this process with another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the date mixture, and then ending with the final third of flour. Mix until combined but do not overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and place in the oven for 40-55 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out clean.
  7. While the cake is baking away we can get cracking on the whiskey caramel sauce. First things first, place a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat and allow the pot to come to temperature. Pour in the whiskey and allow it to bubble and hiss. This is the sound of the alcohol burning off. Let bubble away for around 30 seconds.
  8. Next, add in the brown sugar, butter, and cream and reduce the temperature to medium. Let the mixture boil for about 3-4 minutes and stir frequently. Keep a close eye on this as it could boil over. After 3-4 minutes, remove from temperature and let cool slightly.
  9. Once the cake is done cooking, cut into pieces and pour some caramel onto eat slice about 5 minutes before serving. This gives the caramel time to soak into the cake. Add a bit more caramel, and a dollop of whip cream right before serving. Enjoy!