This Sticky Date Pudding with Caramel Topping is almost too good to be true! Sugar free and gluten free, this high energy dessert is all the things a holiday dessert should be and more. Feel better about the treats you serve your family.
We’ve spent the past few weeks in Australia with my husband’s family. His family is not actually Australian. Born in London, my husband’s family moved to Zimbabwe when he was 7. He and his sister left for university and traveled the world looking for work afterwards. First, he ended up in Australia (for a short time), and shortly after, his sister and her husband moved there, and his parents finally left Zimbabwe and moved to Australia. No one wanted to return to the dreary England weather.
My husband’s parents love their sweets. It’s a bit of a junk-food fest when we visit. Every day, they’ll have afternoon tea with some sort of cake or cookie, and then just an hour or two later, happy hour with chips (“crisps” if your Aussie!) and drinks.
And boy did that grandma want to spoil Xander. The first day we were there, she kept saying, “I bought this for the baby, but I know you won’t let him have it.” Wanting to let her spoil him in her own way, we let him eat a cupcake, some gelato, vanilla ice cream, and a chocolate (after his happy hour chips, of course) the first day we were there. We tried to restrain her the rest of our time there, but towards the end of our trip, Xander would motion towards the freezer babbling his sweet baby talk whenever we went into the kitchen. Ice cream! He knew exactly where it was hiding.
I want to continue some of those traditions for my family, but in a healthier way- a way that’s more in line with my beliefs about health, nutrition, and food culture.
And serving lots of healthy, but either low sugar or sugar free, treats, is a part of those beliefs.
Food should be fun. It brings people together, and helps mold memories. But it also has an impact on how we feel, how we perform, and on our overall health as well.
I have been using dates for years now, and absolutely love them (Read about my initial feelings towards them here). Some of my favorite recipes are sweetened entirely with dates– Oatmeal Walnut Date Bars, Blissful Blueberry Breakfast Bars, No Bake German Chocolate Cookie Bars, and some of the truffles in my Valentine’s Truffle Box. Not to mention some of my favorite beverages- Caramel Mocha Concentrate, Coconut Mint Iced Mocha, and Iced Hazelnut Chai Latte.
Before Xander started eating things like honey and eggs, I made him Carrot Muffins from OhSheGlows, but subbed all the sugar in the recipe for pureed dates. It worked so well, I wondered why I hadn’t been using date paste for quick breads and muffins for years.
This cake is actually the result of my first attempt to make date bread without sugar– it was so sweet, and so delicious, I knew it needed to be made into Sticky Date Pudding with Caramel Topping.
So. Dang. Good. No sugar needed.
Tips for the Sticky Date Pudding with Caramel Topping
- For the best results (and easiest processing), both the cake and the caramel topping can be made in a Vitamix or other high speed blender. I did test this in a normal blender. The cake worked fine in the blender, although it took a little more time. The caramel topping didn’t work in a regular blender, but it worked fine in my food processor.
- Make it Ahead: The whole thing can be put together and frozen. Wrap it in plastic wrap (the pecans will help the wrap from sticking to the “caramel”), and then put in a freezer bag or container, and it should be fine for a month or two. We will see! I’ve made 3 this week, so one is going in the freezer for later.
- Make it Dairy Free: Sub the yogurt for coconut yogurt, or just use 3/4 cup hot water in place. I did test this with all water, and the difference between the two was very subtle.
Sticky Date Pudding with Caramel Top
- 2 cups Medjool dates
- 1/2 cups hot water
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt plain
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- pecans toasted, for garnish
Date Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup Medjool dates
- 2 tablespoon butter salted
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- pinch sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Line a 9x9 cake pan (I use my springform because it's easy to remove the cake, but use any cake pan you have) with parchment paper and spray the sides with coconut oil. Set aside.
- Add medjool dates (pitted) to a medium sized bowl, and pour hot water over the top. Allow to soak for 5-10 minutes, depending on how dry the dates were to start. Fresh dates will require less soaking time.
- Add dates, along with soaking water, to a blender. I use my Vitamix for this, but if the dates are soft, they should be fine in a regular blender.
- To the blender, also add Greek yogurt, eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla. Process until the mixture is very smooth.
- In a medium sized bowl, add all dry ingredients, except pecans. Whisk to combine the dry ingredients, then pour the wet mixture from the blender into the bowl, and stir to combine until no dry ingredients are left.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and then bake for 32-38 minutes, until the center is fully cooked. Use a toothpick to check for gumminess or undercooked batter in the center, and cook a little longer if necessary.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the caramel topping. Add the dates, butter, coconut oil, and salt to a food processor bowl, and process on high, scraping down sides as necessary. If your dates have dried out, or if you're using a smaller date variety other than medjools, you will need to soak your dates in hot water for 5 minutes, and drain them well, prior to this step. Medjool dates are more dense than other dates, so if using a smaller date variety, you will need 2 cups of dates here. I process the dates until they start to become lighter in color and no pieces of dates are left visible.
- Once the cake has cooled, spread it with the date caramel, and garnish with pecans. If the date caramel is very thick and hard to spread, add 1-2 tablespoons of hot water and process for another couple of minutes.
Other Fruit Sweetened Dessert Recipes:
- Paleo Apple Crisp, by Paleoaholic
- Paleo Banana Snack Cake, by Detoxinista
- Banana Bread Date Bars, by Healthy Happy Mama
- Oatmeal Walnut Date Bars, by Vitamin Sunshine
- Double Pumpkin Pie Muffins, by Vitamin Sunshine
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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
Healthifying traditions is always a good “modern” thing 😉 Sounds delicious, Michelle!
Thanks Rebecca 🙂 It is really good. Most of the desserts I make usually stay in the fridge for a week and after I’ve had a test piece, my husband eats them– but this one I can’t stay away from!
I love sticky toffee pudding and your sticky date pudding is a refined sugar and gluten free alternative I definitely want to try.
Hi Razena! I hope you do try it and let me know how you like it. I’ve already had several readers try it and it’s a winner!
Platter Talk says
Very nice recipe. Will be perfect for Thanksgiving.
Yes, for Thanksgiving or Christmas!
The Food Hunter says
I love the sound of this and know I will be trying it soon
Thanks Theresa. We are really loving it!
WOW this looks amazing! Perfect addition to a Thanksgiving table! 🙂 xo Tiffany http://www.parsnipsandpastries.com
Thanks Tiffany! It would be a good non-pie addition to Thanksgiving!
this looks delicious! I can’t wait to try the recipe, dates are so good and so nutritious! thanks for sharing.
Thank you Michelle! I will for sure be making this delicious sounding recipe. I am so glad I came across your website, as everything I’ve made from it so far has been wonderful, and I have no doubt this will be as well 🙂
We are already pulling the 3rd of these cakes out of the freezer for some guests we are having over tonight. It is really delicious– I was actually surprised how good it came out and feel inspired to use date paste in more things now.
Looks delicious! As do most of your recipes actually… But my partner happens to be intolerant to dairy products and as we live on a small island, there aren’t any vegan butters around. Any thoughts on what I could replace it with?
Yes! The dairy is actually not important in this recipe at all. The first time I made this, I made it with hot water and no yogurt at all, and it was fine. But if you have pumpkin puree, that gives it the little extra boost of moisture I was going for with the yogurt. I tried applesauce, but that ended up making it a bit gummy in texture, so I don’t recommend that. I have a new recipe coming out soon that’s a twist off this one for a gingerbread, and I use pumpkin puree. For the “caramel” topping– just use coconut oil in place of the butter. Add an extra sprinkling of sea salt, if you want to boost that caramel flavor. I have actually in the past used a bit of butter extract in date caramel to give it a buttery taste. Thanks for stopping by Maya! Let me know how you like this recipe!
This looks FANTASTIC!! I’d love to make it soon, but quick question– do you happen to know the weight of your two cups of dates? Dates can be so tricky, packed vs unpacked, pitted vs unpitted, different varieties, etc. I was hoping for a little extra insight. Thanks so much 🙂
Thanks so much Hannah — it is fantastic recipe, and I’m so excited for you to try it. You are right about the dates! I realized that myself a while back, and have been updating my date recipes with weights, because there is a huge difference between a cup of medjool dates and another variety. I just measured the dates that I use, and 2 cups is 20 dates, or 8 ounces of pitted dates. 1 cup is 4 ounces of pitted dates. I hope you enjoy!
Oh goodness, thank you for the quick reply! I’m so excited to get cracking on it!!
I’ve just made this date pudding for my family, and it came out beautifully! I did not have the millet flour so increased the oat flour and almond flour accordingly, as you suggested. A fantastic recipe and definitely one that will become a regular on the baking list. Thank you!
I am so glad to hear that, Toni! We adore this cake 🙂 And yes, it works just as well without the millet flour. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi can I use a flax egg in place of eggs. Thank you in advance.
Michelle Miller says
Absolutely! The dates will hold this recipe together.
Hi I was wondering if I can just use 1.5 c of almond flour in this recipe? I’m not familiar with all these other flours so not sure if the texture or chemistry will change extensively. I also prefer small chunks of dates in my sticky date pudding so could I leave them as like this rather than blend them to a smooth paste? Thanks
Michelle Miller says
I bet the almond flour would work great in this. As far as use chunks of dates, the only sweetener in this cake is the date paste, so you will need to use both the paste and some added in chunks. I need to update this recipe because I remember how good it was!