Rye-on-Rye Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

by Nancy Zaffaro
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rye on rye sticky toffee pudding recipe

Whether you consider yourself a baker or not, this Rye-on-Rye Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe from Christopher Kimball and Milk Street is one you’ll love adding to your repertoire.

It’s an easy, straightforward and versatile cake recipe. The pudding will look great and differentiate itself on the party dessert table. It’s a great stand-alone cake for a Sunday dinner at home. It’s easily transported for a potluck. Best of all, the rich flavors feel special and yet it’s neither over-elaborate nor too heavy. Best of all, I think it’s a great ending with whatever is one the brunch, lunch or dinner menu.

And I love that it doesn’t need to be baked in a water bath. They’re doable, of course, but I love that Christopher Kimball and the Milk Street team found an easy workaround to keep this cake moist without the need of that step.

The toffee sauce is easy to make ahead and has a great comfort-food, down-home flavor.

The recipe comes to us courtesy of Christopher Kimball’s new cookbook (and the first from his Milk Street enterprise), Milk Street: The New Home Cooking. Take a look at our review of his book—and have fun trying out this new recipe.

Thanks so much, Christopher Kimball and Milk Street!

Milk Street’s Rye-on-Rye Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

To update Britain’s sticky toffee pudding—a steamed, too-often bland dessert hidden under a gluey, cloying syrup—we worked backward, starting with the sauce. Instead of the traditional cream, we gave the toffee glaze a transatlantic twist by spiking it with rye whiskey. The whiskey’s spice and heat cut through the sweetness of the dark brown sugar and corn syrup; orange zest added brightness. For the cake itself, we wanted to mirror the flavor of the rye, so we used a blend of rye and all-purpose flours. Dates that are steeped in coffee, then pureed, gave body and an earthiness that boosted the rye flavor. Together, the nutty rye and bitter coffee balanced the cake’s sweetness. To up the dessert’s elegance, we made it in a Bundt pan. Covering the pan with foil kept the cake rich and moist. This mimicked the gentle heat of steaming in a water bath (bain marie), but was far less fussy.

Don’t chop the dates. Their texture was unpleasant in the finished dish. The food processor is the best bet. And be sure to check your dates for pits.

Start to finish: 1.5 hours (30 minutes active), plus cooling. Servings: 10


For the Cake:

  •  8 ounces pitted dates (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 142 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 117 grams (3/4 cup) rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 198 grams (1 cup packed) dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) salted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for pan

 For the Toffee Sauce:

  •  198 grams (1 cup packed)
  • dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons rye whiskey
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, cut into 8 pieces and chilled


For the Cake:

  1.  Heat the oven to 325ºF with a rack in the middle position. Lightly coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with butter and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium-high,bring the dates and coffee to a boil. Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  2. Transfer the coffee-date mixture to a food processor, add the sugar and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, vanilla and allspice. Then, with the processor running, add the butter. Pour the date mixture over the flour mixture and whisk gently until combined. Transfer to the prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake until firm and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Remove the foil and cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes.

For the Sauce:

  1. While the cake cools, in a medium saucepan over medium-high, combine the sugar, corn syrup, orange zest and salt. Bring to a boil, then cook until the mixture hits 240oF, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the whiskey, 2 tablespoons at a time, allowing the bubbling to subside before adding more. Whisk in the butter 2 tablespoons at a time until melted and smooth.
  2.  Invert the cake onto a serving platter. Brush the top and sides generously with the warm toffee sauce. Slice and serve drizzled with additional sauce. The sauced, cooled cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days. Cooled sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. To reheat, wrap the cake in foil and place in a 300oF oven until warmed. Microwave the sauce until bubbling.
Christopher Kimball Milk Street's rye on rye sticky toffee pudding recipe

Christopher Kimball at 177 Milk Street in Boston. (Photo by Channing Johnson.)

For More:

-Book cover design by Julianna Lee, cover photo and author photo by Channing Johnson. Courtesy of Milk Street.

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