Gluten free steamed syrup sponge

Gluten free steamed syrup sponge on a plate

It’s with sheer delight, that I share this truly scrumptious gluten free steamed sponge recipe with you. I have a steamed jam sponge recipe already on the blog, but I know how popular steamed syrup pud is, so I thought you wouldn’t mind me tempting you with this one too. 

The original recipe I used to make this gluten free steamed syrup sponge came from Nigella Lawson ‘How to be a domestic goddess’. It’s one of my favourite recipe books and this is the third recipe from the book which I’ve adapted and shared so far; butterfly cakes and a ganache filled/topped chocolate cake are the other two. Whilst ‘How to be a domestic goddess’ is a standard recipe book, many recipes will adapt superbly into gluten free creations.

This gluten free steamed syrup sponge is extremely easy to make and would make the most perfect treat to serve up to friends and family who love warm comforting puds. Just make sure the main course is nice and light so they have enough space in their tum to squeeze in a slice of this soft, syrup ladened sponge. YUM!

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

For the sponge 
175g (6oz) softened unsalted butter
175g (6oz) gluten free self-raising flour or mix (add ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum if this or guar gum is not in already in the flour)
175g (6oz) caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
3 tablespoons milk (any milk will do) 
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and juice of ½ 

For the syrup base/topping
250g (9oz)*golden syrup
Juice from other ½ of lemon

Flatlay of ingredients for steamed syrup sponge


Fill the kettle and pop it on to boil.

Butter a 1¾ litre heatproof pudding basin (I used a smaller one, but I recommend you use the size suggested in the original recipe). Pour the syrup into the prepared basin and stir in juice from ½ of the lemon. 

Syrup and lemon juice in a buttered pyrex bowl

Place all the ingredients for the sponge into a large mixing bowl.

Ingredients in a stainless steel bowl for steamed syrup sponge

Using a stand or electric hand mixer (Nigella suggests using a food processor, should you fancy using instead) whisk for a few minutes until the mixture becomes pale and creamy. I found that initially the mixture looked a little curdled, but after scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times and giving it a brisk whisk again the consistency was OK. 

Sponge mixture in a stainless steel bowl

Grab a large spoon and gently spoon the sponge mixture into the prepared pudding basin. Take care not to disturb the syrup too much.

Gluten free steamed sponge pudding before being cooked

Smooth the mixture down with the back of the spoon. 

Gluten free steamed sponge pudding before being cooked

Cut out a circle of greaseproof paper. One that is large enough to completely cover the basin and give you about a 2 inch overhang. Add a fold to the greaseproof to give the sponge space to rise. Lay the greaseproof over the basin and cover with a piece of foil (that’s also been pleated in the middle). Secure in place, by tying string tightly around the edge of the basin. If you tie a sturdy ‘string handle’ across the top of the foil, it will make it much easier to lift the pudding out again once it’s cooked.

Gluten free steamed sponge pudding wrapped in foil prior to cooking

To Steam: Place the basin in a steamer and set over a pan of boiling water and cover with a lid. If you don’t have a steamer, you can instead, pop it into a large pan. In my steamed jam sponge pudding recipe I suggest that you place the basin onto an upturned heatproof saucer or plate in the pan, Nigella said all would be OK without bothering with this bit. I tried, and it was.  

Pour enough boiling water into the pan (around the basin) until it comes up to halfway up the basin and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and steam for 2hrs 15mins. Keep having a glance at the water level and add more boiling water from the kettle as and when needed. 

Gluten free steamed syrup sponge steaming in a pan

Once the pudding has cooked, grab a dry cloth and carefully remove the basin from the steamer and leave to stand for 5 minutes. This will give the syrup chance cool ever so slightly. After this time remove the foil and paper. Gently run a knife around the top of the sponge to loosen.

Gluten free steamed syrup sponge pudding

Then placing a large deep plate with a sauce-saving lip over the basin and protecting your hands well with a dry cloth (hot syrup causes a horrid burn if it gets on your skin) tip the pudding upside down and onto the plate. And now it’s ready to enjoy!

Gluten free steamed syrup sponge

Recipe notes and suggestions:

To get the ultimate pleasure from this delicious pud, I suggest you slice and tuck in once it’s turned out. Whilst the sponge will keep, and still be extremely yummy for 2-3 days, the syrup will soak in and it won’t be quite as squidgy as when it’s first cooked. To liven things up a little, you can trickle over a little additional syrup before reheating the sponge.

If by chance you have leftovers that are not going to get used, the sponge can be frozen. Portion, wrap well and label before popping it into the freezer. It will be fine in there for up to 2 months.

As syrup sponge is really sweet, it’s best served up with things less so. I know steamed syrup sponge and *custard are a match made in heaven, but I think chilled fresh cream poured over the top would work wonderfully too.

Thanks for checking out this recipe for gluten free steamed syrup sponge. Credit to Nigella Lawson for the original recipe I worked with, and slightly adapted to make it gluten free. 

For now,
Liz x

*Check this product out to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out.

2 thoughts on “Gluten free steamed syrup sponge

    • Elizabeth Rimmer says:

      I’ve just googled to check out what a Saint Martin honey pudding is…it looks and sounds incredible! I must have a go at one sometime. I’m delighted you’ve chosen to use the recipe I’ve shared to make your own creation. Enjoy. Liz

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