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Treacle Pudding: Steamed Golden Syrup Sponge Recipe

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Born in deepest Cornwall and now living in wild Wales, Bev is no stranger to treacle pudding. She hopes you will enjoy this recipe!

Fluffy, steamy and slightly stodgy, this delicious treacle pudding will take you right back to your childhood. If you grew up in Britain, that is!

Fluffy, steamy and slightly stodgy, this delicious treacle pudding will take you right back to your childhood. If you grew up in Britain, that is!

Traditional British Pudding

It's my husband's birthday, and I've promised to make him one of his favorite desserts: steamed treacle pudding. It's not made with dark treacle or molasses but with Lyle's Golden Syrup. Both my grandmothers would make this pudding, though one of them mostly used raspberry jam/jelly in hers. It's usually served with custard, but ice cream or heavy cream also works.

Treacle pudding is like angel food—if you've never tried it, then you are in for a delicious experience. However, I only make it a couple of times a year, as it is very fattening! Wonderful for family celebrations, steamed sponges are simple to make and, because they are made on the stove-top, they leave your oven free for the main course.

I thought you might like to join me as I make his birthday treat.

Ingredients for treacle steamed pudding

Ingredients for treacle steamed pudding

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

1 hour 30 min

1 hour 45 min

Serves 6


  • A double steamer. You can use an ordinary saucepan by placing an old saucer in the bottom, stand the pudding basin on it and fill it with water to come halfway up the basin.
  • Pudding basin 1 1/2 pint (900 ml)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Fork
  • Large metal spoon (a tablespoon is fine)
  • Waxed/greaseproof paper
  • Foil
  • String or thick elastic


  • 2 level tablespoons Golden Syrup
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) (100 grams) butter
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) (50 grams) granulated or caster sugar
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) (50 grams) soft brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) (150 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Method for Treacle Pudding (Quick Version)

  1. Set steamer to boil. Grease pudding basin and spoon Golden Syrup in.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla essence to beaten eggs.
  3. Gradually add beaten egg and vanilla essence, mixing well with each addition.
  4. Sift half the flour and baking powder into bowl and fold in gently with metal spoon. Repeat with remaining flour and baking powder.
  5. Add enough milk to obtain a dropping consistency, then pour batter on top of syrup in pudding basin.
  6. Cover basin with waxed paper and foil. Place in steamer, cover and steam for 1 1/2 hours. Detailed instructions follow.

Step 1: Prepare the Steamer and Pudding Basin

Fill the steamer base or saucepan up to the required level with water and set on the heat to boil. Grease the pudding basin with butter. (I always save my butter wrappers in the fridge for this sort of thing!) Spoon the Golden Syrup into the bottom of the basin.

Cream the butter and sugar.

Cream the butter and sugar.

Step 2: Cream Butter, Sugar and Eggs

Using the fork, cream the butter and sugars together until the mix is nice and squidgy.

Drip half a teaspoon of vanilla essence or flavoring into the beaten eggs.

Gradually add the beaten egg, mixing thoroughly each time. The mixture will almost certainly 'split'. When I first made this as a newlywed, I thought I'd done something wrong and threw everything away and started again. When it happened a second time, I nearly gave up in tears, but decided to press on anyway. It was fine.

Beat mixture until it has reached a good dropping consistency.

Beat mixture until it has reached a good dropping consistency.

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Step 3: Add the Flour and Milk

Sieve half the flour and baking powder into the bowl and use a metal spoon to gently fold the flour into the butter and sugar. Repeat with the rest of the flour.

Now, you want the batter to be a 'dropping consistency'; in other words, when you scoop up a tablespoonful, the mix should slowly fall off the spoon and fall back in the basin. Add a little milk and test for 'dropping'. You may need to repeat this until the right consistency is obtained.

Pour the batter in on top of the Golden Syrup.

Pour the batter in on top of the Golden Syrup.

Make sure batter is level.

Make sure batter is level.

Make a foil lifting handle for the steamer.

Make a foil lifting handle for the steamer.

Step 4: Steam the Pudding

Tip and scrape the batter into the pudding basin right on top of the syrup that's already in there. Shake and tap the side of the basin to get the mixture level.

Cover the basin with a double layer of waxed or greaseproof paper, secure around the basin with string or elastic, then cover the whole shebang with foil to keep the steam out of the pudding.

Take a length of foil—about twice as long as your steamer is wide—and fold it lengthways until it is about two inches wide. Place this inside the steamer with the two ends hanging over the side; this will make it easy to lift the hot basin out of the steamer. I keep my foil 'handles' and use them again and again, making sure to unfold and dry them out.

Place the basin in the steamer, cover with a lid and steam on a low heat for 1 1/2 hours. You can let it carry on steaming for another half hour with no ill-effects. Check the water level now and then as you don't want it to boil dry.

Steamed Treacle (Golden Syrup) Sponge Pudding—Yum!

Steamed Treacle (Golden Syrup) Sponge Pudding—Yum!

A Slice of Golden Syrup Pudding

A Slice of Golden Syrup Pudding

Step Five: Serving Treacle Pudding

Carefully remove the pudding from the steamer using your foil handles. Remove the foil and paper – be careful – it's very hot! Place a serving plate on top of the pudding basin and quickly up-end it. Tap the bottom of the basin and lift it off the plate. Your glorious Golden Syrup sponge pudding should be sitting there in all its glory.

At this point, I have to physically restrain my husband from adding another tablespoon of syrup over the top (you can if you want to). Cut the pudding into portions as you would a cake and serve with custard, cream or ice-cream.

This pudding is also delicious served cold as Golden Syrup cake.

Gold Stars for a Golden Dessert?

What Is Golden Syrup?

Golden syrup is a light treacle that if formed during the sugar-refining process. In the old days, it was considered a waste product and was usually thrown away. A chemist who worked for sugar refiner, Abram Lyle, discovered the syrup could be further refined, and Lyle's Golden Syrup was born.

The Guinness Book of Records shows that the famous trademark is Britain's oldest brand. It is high in both fructose and glucose and, therefore, should not be consumed in great quantities. It's okay for the occasional delicious treat though!

Variations on Golden Syrup

Plop in a couple of tablespoons of any of the following instead of Golden Syrup:

  • Jam or Jelly. Any flavor works well.
  • Canned Fruit. You can't go wrong with pineapple or peaches.
  • Stewed Fruit. Blackberry and apple or rhubarb and apple are wonderful.
  • Mincemeat. Press a thin layer of mincemeat all over the inside of the pudding basin before pouring in the mixture.
  • Chocolate. Four level tablespoons of cocoa powder blended with a little water and mixed into the butter and sugar before adding the beaten eggs make a delicious chocolate pudding. Serve with chocolate sauce and cream. Yum!
  • Zest. Keep the syrup, but zing up the sponge with the zest of an orange or lemon added when creaming the butter and sugar.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you think marmalade would work in this recipe for treacle pudding?

Answer: I think it would, but I would be tempted to add a tablespoon of golden syrup as well. It depends if you want a more tangy pudding. Of course, you could also go with lime or lemon marmalade too.

Now you've made me want to try it!

© 2012 Bev G

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