Syrup Sponge Pudding

Oh my days it has been a remarkably long week but we only seem to be Tuesday. Yes it is Tuesday. That’s when I write these posts.

I feel like I’ve been run off my feet but unfortunately, short of having fairly happy babies, I literally have nothing to show for it.


I did buy runners and leggings and a sports top. It’s for my second running career. My first, in Sydney, lasted 13mins and I only got 800m. I feel this one is more doable. The first night I made my way through a glorious 3km route down by one of the most beautiful parks in Dublin (Dillon’s Park in Dalkey). Alas, as glorious as it was I only managed to run about a third of it. Running is way harder than it looks.

Speaking of looks, I must have looked like a right tit because when I got home I realised I still had the swing tag on my leggings. Morto. Nonetheless, I have completed the same route twice more. Although, one more slice of honesty, I got a stitch. Being such an elite athlete I didn’t know what to do so I ended up walking but in my defense I did have an aging Great Dane and an over eager mutt in toe so any progress without incident was to be applauded.

As for my recipe this week it’s Syrup Sponge Pudding. If you didn’t have it as a child then you were deprived. It is just the best thing in the world. Sticky and delicious. Warm and happy. Best served with custard but a nice icecream would be a worthy second place. I should note that the sponge is dense so don’t be expecting anything else.

The batter is one step removed from being the easiest it could be because you have to add the eggs in stages but other than that it really is just so simple. The wrapping it up for cooking and the deciding if it’s done bit, however, is a tad tricky and I must say I’m still not sure I’ve fully mastered it.

In any case give it a whirl. It’ll feed 6 reserved people or 3 stressed and tired parents of young children (under 2’s specifically).

No oven for this one. You’ll be needing a very large pot, a 1 litre heatproof bowl (or pudding basin if you have one to hand), baking parchment, tin foil and a bit o’ string.

Golden syrup          4 tablespoons

Butter                        175g

Caster sugar             125g

Lemon zest – that of one lemon

Eggs                            3

Self raising flour    175g

Prepare the bowl by buttering all over the inside. Then cut a little disc of baking parchment to fit in the base and pop it in, on top of the butter.

that’s it there

If you aren’t using a pudding basin then you’ll need to cut one circle of baking parchment and one of tin foil, both about twice the size of the top of the bowl you’re using.

Place the tin foil on top of the parchment and fold to create a generous pleat in the middle.

Now find a large saucepan, big enough to comfortably fit the bowl with a bit of room to spare.

Spoon two tablespoons of the golden syrup into the bowl, on top of the parchment.

it’ll make sense later

Put the rest of the syrup into a food processor (alternatively you can use a set of electric beaters and a big mixing bowl, up to yourself).

Measure the butter into the food processor along with the sugar and lemon zest. Blitz for a few seconds til it all comes together.

Break in one egg and blitz again.

Pour in half of the flour.

Blitz some more.

Next egg in.


Rest of the flour.


Last egg.


That’s the batter made. Now pour it into the syruped bowl and smooth down the top.

don’t you love a simple cake

If you’re using a pudding bowl, good for you, put on the lid.

If you aren’t, the place the pleated tin foil/ parchment creation onto your bowl and secure with the string.

Half fill your saucepan with water, place an upturned saucer into the bottom and gently lower the bowl into the pan.

Then fill the pan up so that all of the bowl with batter is submerged.

I needed to weigh mine down because it proved surprisingly buoyant.

safety first

Bring the water up to a boil and then lower the heat to allow for a gentle simmer. You may need to top the water up as it cooks if the level drops too much.

The recipe I used said it should take 1 hr 45mins but I had mine on for closer to 3 hrs. They’re a devil to work out if they’re cooked due to the level of packaging and because they never get dry and spongy like a regular cake. But after 3hrs you should at least have something edible. And when I say edible I mean wonderful.

a curious beast – that’s it cooked, far spongier on the inside

To serve, remove the lid or tin foil and parchment. Place a pretty plate on top and flip the whole lot over. Give it a minute to flump down onto the plate. If it doesn’t then turn it back up the right way and loosen the sides with a knife before trying to flip it again.


Go eat it with custard. Stop judging my photos.



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