Sticky Date Pudding with Mascarpone

Vinny Dotolo

Jon & Vinny's, Los Angeles

Mascarpone and orange zest add a bit of elegance to this classic dessert. 


  • Caramel Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 9 fluid ounces heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons brandy or rum
  • Date Pudding:
  • 3 cups pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 15 fluid ounces warm water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 7 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone
  • Orange zest for garnish


Make the caramel sauce: melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and whisk until blended. Add the cream and the brandy or rum. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer the sauce, swirling the pan occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool while you prepare the cake. 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 2-quart baking dish or 9 x 9–inch baking pan with butter. Set aside. 

Blend the dates, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a food processor until a paste forms. Add the water, eggs, and vanilla; purée until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the melted butter and mix until blended. Transfer the date mixture to a large bowl and set aside. 

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the date mixture and whisk until just combined. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula to level the top of the cake. Bake until the center of the cake is set and just barely jiggles, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. 

Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, poke several holes all over the top of the cake. Pour a heaping cup of caramel sauce evenly over the cake. Return the cake to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the remaining sauce over the cake. 

To serve, slice the cake into individual servings while it’s still warm. Top each piece with a dollop of mascarpone. Finish with a sprinkle of orange zest. 


6 to 8 servings