Super-indulgent, caramel-sweet, addictively-delicious Sticky Toffee Cake. A recipe made with REAL dairy toffee and gluten free flour.
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Gluten Free Sticky Toffee Cake – Rich, Creamy and Indulgent
THIS is my take on a Sticky Toffee Cake… A gluten free tray bake that I only make occasionally. Why? Because it is dangerously delicious. I would go so far as to say it is the BEST Sticky Toffee CAKE you may ever bake. With its deep and strangely sophisticated caramel flavours and rich dairy creaminess, this toffee cake is indulgent, decadent and utterly divine.
It is most certainly a cake for toffee lovers. And while a little is all you need, it is so addictively moreish that you will never stop at that… Because what you want is another slice… and another…
Why this is a Sticky Toffee Cake and not a Sticky Toffee Pudding
To be clear however… This is a Sticky Toffee CAKE and not a ‘Sticky Toffee Pudding’.
Sticky Toffee Pudding (a classic British dessert which is also sometimes known as Sticky Date Pudding) is a dense sponge cake, usually made in a pudding bowl and with dates as a central ingredient. The toffee in the pudding is always from the rich toffee sauce that is poured over the top.
This gluten free Sticky Toffee Cake recipe contains NO dates; Has NO sauce; And is baked in a square tin to be cut into slices. While it is ‘heavier’ than the average sponge cake (and therefore is unsuitable for layer cakes), this is in no way because it is dense. This cake is tender and light of crumb, yet sticky and rich with caramel from the toffee contained within. It requires no extra sauce either for flavour or moistness. This is most definitely a cake.
A Gluten Free Toffee tray bake with REAL toffee
So, what makes this Sticky Toffee Cake special? Well… For a start, it’s made with actual, real dairy toffee… In the sponge. And that makes this cake quite unique both in flavour and texture.
I’m sure there are other cakes out there that add toffee to the cake batter, but I’ve trawled the internet and I’ve yet to find one. Actually, it’s one of my earliest gluten free recipes, dating back to November 2013, but since it’s been ‘unfindable’ on Google, I realised it needed an upgrade with a recipe card and some new photos. There really is no point in having an incredible recipe if no one gets to enjoy it. Right?
But back to real dairy toffee… It is literally chopped and added to the sponge batter before baking. And as it bakes, it melts with the heat of the oven, mingling its creaminess throughout. The soft natural toffee pools slightly in places, offering gentle and occasional decadent stickiness… surprising the brain with its rich caramel sweetness. It’s simply genius! And a technique which I used for my Mini Banoffee Loaf Cakes and Chewy Toffee Apple Cookies too.
Does using real toffee make the cake very sweet?
Although this is a sweet cake and has a high sugar content (it is toffee after all), it is surprisingly not a sweetness that I would describe as ‘too sweet’. And I’m super-sensitive to cakes which are over-sweet, to the point that I genuinely cannot bear most supermarket or commercially-produced gluten free cakes.
Perhaps the use of a combination of soft light brown and coconut sugar tempers the sweetness away from raw sugariness and towards caramel decadence. But either way, the experience you get is more creamy toffee than sweet candy. And the calorific value is on a par with a not over-sweet brownie.
What flour can be used to make this Cake?
Sticky Toffee Cake uses a combination of flour and ground almonds in the mix. The recipe was developed using my Gluten Free Alchemist white flour Blend A. However, an alternative balanced gluten free flour blend (including Doves Freee plain white flour) should be fine.
And although (for obvious reasons) I have never tried it, I expect that the gluten free flour blend can easily be substituted for bog-standard wheat baking flour if you are not either gluten intolerant, Coeliac or Celiac.
Equipment needed to make Gluten Free Sticky Toffee Cake
To make a gluten free Sticky Toffee Cake, you’ll need some basic baking equipment…
- A 9-inch square non-stick, loose-based baking tin. Mine is a Masterclass tin which has lasted me years!
- Good quality non-stick baking parchment to base-line the tin. I always use Lakeland Baking Parchment… It’s the only one I trust.
- Robust sharp knife to chop the toffee into super-small pieces.
- A good mixing bowl… It’s always worth using one with a non-slip base.
- A sturdy wooden or silicone spoon. I prefer the silicone ones because they are non-stick and don’t retain cooking smells to the same degree as wood, like this one made by Zeal.
- An electric whisk… It’s definitely worth getting one which has a ‘kneader’ attachment option so that you can use it for bread as well.
- An oven and a small non-stick saucepan and hob.
- Wire Rack for cooling… The stacking set from Lakeland is brilliant for its flexibility and sturdiness.
Can I make this cake dairy free as well as gluten free?
It is possible to make gluten free Sticky Toffee Cake dairy free, providing you can source a soft creamy, melty vegan toffee… The sort that is firm but still chewy (not fudge).
Once sourced, all that is then needed is a good butter substitute for baking and a little of your favourite dairy free milk.
How to serve Sticky Toffee Cake
My gluten free Sticky Toffee Cake may not be a ‘pudding’ but it makes the most divine dessert. Its texture is squidgy, sticky, smooth and spongy all at the same time… And it is comfortingly sumptuous served with a little cream, ice cream or lashings of custard. It works cold or warm too.
But it is also perfect served just as it is, as a tea time or sweet treat. I’ve ‘dressed’ mine with a little flower of custard buttercream which works gorgeously against the toffee as it is not over-sweet like many frostings. (recipe included in a separate recipe card below).
The original 2013 recipe was made to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night… Often celebrated with treats which are either ginger or toffee based. But this is an all-year-round cake that can be dressed up or down as you wish.
Will you make my Gluten Free Sticky Toffee Cake?
So here it is… My recipe for Gluten Free Sticky Toffee Cake. Get ready to enjoy the BEST toffee cake ever! Well… That’s my opinion anyway (and also that of lots of other people who have tried it over the years…).
For lots of other yummy tray-cakes, hop over to our dedicated Brownie and Traybake Index. And for everything else sit down and scroll through the tempting photos in our Main Index which shares what we do at Gluten Free Alchemist.
Sticky Toffee Cake with Real Toffee
- 9 inch (23 cm) square loose-bottomed non-stick baking tin
- baking paper
- Kitchen scales
- measuring spoons
- sharp knife
- Mixing bowls
- oven + hob
- wooden/silicone spoon
- Small saucepan
- electric whisk
- wire rack
- 100 g light brown sugar
- 100 g coconut palm sugar Or use light or dark soft brown sugar in place of coconut palm sugar
- 200 g plain gluten free flour blend I use GFA Blend A (see NOTES)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100 g ground almonds almond meal
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 200 g unsalted butter cubed
- 200 g golden syrup
- 3 large eggs room temperature – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 30 ml milk (2 tbsp)
- 90 g soft, chewy dairy toffee (not fudge) cut into small pieces
- Base-line a non stick loose-bottomed square cake tin (23 cm/9 inches x 23 cm/9 inches) with baking paper.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Mix together the sugar(s), flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground almonds and salt in a large bowl, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
- Place the butter and golden syrup in a small non-stick saucepan and gently melt over a low heat, stirring continually until liquid and combined. (Do not allow to boil)
- Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and gently beat with a spoon until combined.
- Beat the eggs and milk together in a separate small bowl and then add to the cake mix. Beat with a whisk until all ingredients are fully combined and have become a thick batter.
- Add the toffee pieces and gently fold into the batter until evenly distributed.
- Spoon the batter into the cake tin and spread into the corners with the back of a spoon, ensuring an even surface.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160 C/320 F/Gas 3, and continue to bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes until the cake is well risen and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Keep a check on the cake whilst cooking. If you are concerned that it is browning too quickly, place a piece of foil over the top half way through the baking process.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cold, cut the cake into squares.
© 2019-2021 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Custard Butter Icing (frosting)
- Kitchen scales
- measuring spoons
- mixing spoon/spatula
- large mixing bowl
- electric hand whisk or stand mixer
- 75 g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative) softened
- 130 g icing sugar confectioners sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 25 g custard powder
- 1 tbsp milk DF if required
- Beat the butter until smooth using an electric whisk for preference.
- Gradually add and beat in the icing sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
- Lastly add the custard powder and the milk (a little at a time) and continue to beat until smooth and light.
- If the icing is too firm, add the tiniest drop of milk at a time and continue to beat until the desired consistency is reached.
Gluten Free Sticky Toffee Cake shared with
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