Stephanie Alexander's golden syrup English sponge pudding recipe

Sticky golden syrup pudding.
Sticky golden syrup pudding. Photo: Rebecca Hallas

Sponge puddings are a classic and every English food writer has a version. I loved reading this from the late Michael Smith, published in Fine English Cookery, about his pudding recipe. I have abbreviated his delightful introduction."The secret behind a really good-flavoured sponge pudding is the quality of the butter used. I firmly believe that unsalted butter should be used for all sweets.The sponge pudding should be England's answer to the souffle, but it ought not to be compared with it, for the two things are entirely different and the pudding is essentially a creation of the English over many centuries..."



2 eggs

the weight of the eggs in:

unsalted butter (room temperature)

castor sugar

self-raising flour

2 tbsp cold water

juice of a large lemon

4 tbsp golden syrup

additional butter for the basin

Syrup sauce

6 tbsp golden syrup

200ml water

juice of a large lemon

1 tbsp unsalted butter

3 tsp cornflour, slaked with 1 tbsp of water


For pudding

Beat the butter and the sugar until every granule of sugar has disappeared. Add 1 spoonful of the flour and beat in well. Beat the eggs with the cold water and gradually beat them into the creamed butter and sugar. Now deftly and thoroughly fold in the rest of the flour.

Generously butter a 1 litre pudding basin. Spoon in the golden syrup and the lemon juice and then plop in the sponge pudding batter.

Cover with a doubled sheet of foil and tie with string under the rim of the basin. Stand basin on a wire rack or an enamel plate inside a stockpot and add boiling water to come two-thirds up sides of the basin. Cover the stockpot and boil for 1 1/2 hours, topping up the water level as necessary. Invert onto a warm serving dish and serve with syrup sauce.

For syrup sauce

Bring golden syrup, water, lemon juice and butter to simmering point.

Add a little hot syrup to the cornflour mixture and quickly tip the mixture into the simmering syrup. Simmer, stirring until sauce has smoothly thickened a little. Pour into a jug to serve.

Makes 1 cup.