“One of my favourite treats is my sticky toffee pudding with plenty of caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream. This is a long-standing family favourite. A couple of years ago we were host to the cast of The Wife. We were lucky enough to welcome Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Max Irons to Cavens, who dined and stayed with us whilst they filmed on the nearby Arbigland Estate. The film shone the Hollywood light on Dumfries and Galloway, and portrayed the area beautifully. During their stay, we served them this sticky toffee pudding recipe and it went down very well, so we hope you enjoy them as much as they did.

These puddings are easily frozen so they are perfect if you’re needing to prepare them in advance for an event, or just to have a stock in the freezer for when you’re needing a little pick-me-up. Throughout the year we always look forward to serving dishes featuring our local seasonal produce, including rhubarb which is back in season. It won’t be long until Scotland is bursting with amazing produce again. That really is our favourite time of the year. It is great to introduce our guests about the ingredients that feature on our menu and introduce them to our favourite Scottish and specifically Dumfries and Galloway produce.”

Cavens Country House is a beautifully restored Georgian house. Rooms start at £200 a night, which include a home-cooked and dinner and breakfast. For more information, visit: www.cavens.com

Sticky toffee pudding, by Jane Fordyce

Makes 9 or 10 individual puddings.


For the sponge:

250g dates, pitted

250ml water

½ tsp vanilla paste

Demerara sugar, for coating the moulds

200g dark brown muscovado sugar

65g unsalted butter, softened

200g self-raising flour

1 tbsp black treacle

1 tbsp golden syrup

2 eggs

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

9 or 10 dariole moulds

For the butterscotch sauce:

180g unsalted butter

200g dark brown demerara

500ml double cream

For serving:

Vanilla ice-cream, optional


1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C.

2. Start off by making the sponges. Add the pitted dates, water and vanilla paste to a pan and gently simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, then set to one side and cool.

3. Prepare the dariole moulds by buttering the inside and coating with demerara sugar, making sure to shake off any excess sugar. This stops the mixture from sticking to the moulds.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the butter and muscovado sugar together and beat until smooth. Then add the black treacle and golden syrup to the butter and sugar and mix until combined.

5. Next, add the flour to the butter and sugar mix. It should come together and have a bread crumb-like texture. If the mixture is too wet, add some more flour until the desired texture is reached. Then add the eggs and mix until combined.

6. Using a food processor, whizz up the cooled dates, water and vanilla paste mix until smooth. Then add the bicarbonate of soda. Make sure this is evenly distributed throughout the mix.

7. Add the date mixture to the other mixture and combine well. Fill each of the moulds half-full and bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes.

8. While the sponges are baking, make the butterscotch sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and add the demerara sugar and cream. Heat until melted and fully combined, making sure to stir regularly.

9. Once the sponges are ready, remove from the oven and turn out into a serving bowl. Pour over the sauce and immediately serve with a ball of vanilla ice-cream.