Fran’s Vegan Version of Deborah Madison’s Not Quite So Sticky Date Pudding

Fran Costigan's simple but unusual vegan Sticky Date Pudding is a nice change of pace from the usual holiday desserts.This simple but unusual vegan Sticky Date Pudding is a nice change of pace from the usual labor intensive and super sweet holiday desserts.

Deborah Madison’s Not Quite So Sticky Date Pudding

Joy Manning and Marisa McClellan, cookbook authors and hosts of one of my favorite podcasts Local Mouthful, were having a potluck in Philadelphia. The guests were asked to make a recipe from anyone Deborah Madison’s 14 cookbooks! For years, I have wanted to create a vegan version of the Not So Very Sticky Date Pudding in her cookbook Seasonal Fruit Desserts.  As there is no egg in the recipe, and as vegan buttermilk is easy to make, I was certain this was going to be quite straightforward.

Deborah and I discussed my project by email before I started. She was interested in learning what I was going to do and the results, of course. I was thrilled with the pudding cake, and it was a huge hit with everyone at the potluck.

This Sticky Date Pudding is a keeper, but please do read this post from beginning to end, so you don’t miss any of the tips.


Deborah’s recipe calls from pouring a liqueur over the hot cake. I wanted an alcohol-free cake. What I did instead was add some Soom Silan (date molasses), a new sweetener, one that is actually an ancient sweetener, to my Vanilla Pastry Cream and poured this cream the hot baked pudding cake instead. It worked a charm. I am currently obsessed with silan and will be doing a blog post dedicated to this healthful, delicious alternative to molasses and honey, in the near future. You can purchase some now though. You won’t be sorry.

Vegan Sticky Date Pudding

Vegan Sticky Date Pudding is just lightly sweet, not at all cloying like most sticky puddings. I was unfazed by the direction to pour the hot liquid over the cake portion since pudding cakes are something I make (Hot Fudge Brownie Cakelettes in Vegan Chocolate and Hot Fudge Cake in More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts)  Don’t be scared—do it!

You could even serve this at breakfast or brunch. I am going to do just that.


Vegan Sticky Date Pudding: The Plan

  • Make the liquid topping which will be poured over the batter, and keep it warm while you make the batter.
  • Make the Date Pastry Cream using Vanilla Pastry Cream and silan, and set aside while the cake bakes.

Vegan Sticky Date Pudding

Vegan Sticky Date Pudding

Vegan Sticky Date Pudding

Fran Costigan
With all of the holiday baking many of us are doing, this simple but unusual cake is a nice change of pace. You could even serve it at breakfast or brunch. I am going to do just that.
Course Dessert
Servings 8 9-inch cake


The Liquid Topping for the Batter

  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (I used decaffinated)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup whole cane sugar (Sucanat or Rapadura)
  • 1 ounce vegan butter

Vanilla Date Cream to Pour Over the Hot, Baked Cake

  • 1/4 cup Vanilla Pastry Cream thinned with 2 tablespoons silan.

The Cake

  • 1/2 cup soymilk or oatmilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) whole Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole cane sugar (Sucanat or Rapadura), ground in a blender until fine
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (I used sunflower)


Make the Liquid Topping to Pour Over the Batter

  • Bring the coffee, 1 cup of water, and the 2/3 cup of the whole cane sugar to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low, add the butter and stir until melted. Keep this liquid warm while you make the cake.

Make the Batter

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Oil a 9 x 3 inch round cake pan and set the pan on a rimmed sheet pan.
  • This will make it easier to move the cake in and out of the oven.
  • Make the buttermilk substitution. Mix the soymilk and apple cider vinegar in a small dish or in the measuring cup and set aside to clabber.
  • If the dates are hard, steam them for a few minutes. Cut each date into about 6 pieces. You should have 1 cup packed so add more if needed.
  • Set a wire mesh strainer over a mixing bowl and sift the flours, whole cane sugar, baking powder, salt into the bowl. Whisk to aerate the dry ingredients.
  • Mix the oil into the buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients along with the dates and nuts, and mix all together to make a thick batter.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and push it into an even layer. I use an offset spatula. Set the pan on the baking sheet. Bring the liquid topping for the batter back to a boil and pour it all over the cake.
  • Bake 23 to 25 minutes, until you see a gooey sauce puddle up around the edges of the pan.
  • Pour the Vanilla Date Cream over the hot cake.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with more of the Vanilla Date Cream or add a scoop of with vegan ice cream.
Keyword vegan sticky date pudding
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
  • 5 stars
    Hi Fran
    I was waiting for this recipe. Can we freeze the Vegan Sticky Date Pudding?Is the microwave the best way to reheat it?
    Happy Christmas

    • Hello Vineeta, H
      I have not frozen this dessert, but I imagine it is possible. I don’t personally use a microwave, so I’d rewarm it in an oven but the microwave would be fine, just go slowly and carefully. You definitely need the cream to serve with this dessert, and if you cannot find the date molasses (Silan), use cane or sorghum molasses or even a bit of barley malt, to taste. Let us know how it goes.
      Happy Christmas to you as well.

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