Spotted Dick Sponge

Christine Albury

Spotted Dick Sponge is a classic British dessert. traditionally served as a school pudding and delicious served with custard. Learn how to make it!

In England, the majority of people refer to dessert as 'pudding', but there are only certain types of desserts that can be truly classed as 'puddings'.

Spotted Dick Photo

A true pudding is one that is either boiled or steamed.

Suet puddings, sponges, and Christmas puddings fall into the category of true puddings. These puddings are steamed or boiled in a pudding basin covered with cloth.

Spotted Dick Sponge is a true classic pudding, made from a suet base and slightly sweetened with currants (or other dried fruit) and hints of lemon.

While its bizarre name can sometimes cause giggles, it makes perfect sense once you know its history!

Many years ago, the term 'dick' was used to mean pudding and the term ‘spotted’ came from the appearance of the sponge, due to the currants ‘spotted’ throughout it.

Even though the origin of its name is entirely innocent, a supermarket in England actually renamed it ‘Suet Pudding with Currants’, and the Flintshire Country Council renamed this pub classic ‘Spotted Richard’. 

Spotted Dick Picture

Spotted Dick Sponge traditionally features currants or raisins, but you can get creative and try prunes, apricots or dates instead.

Most recipes call for lemon zest, but you can also include orange zest to add more zing.

To plump up your dried fruit and zest for use in this sponge, soak them  in some lemon or orange juice before starting the recipe.

A traditional Spotted Dick is made with an animal fat called suet, which is hard to get in the US. The nearest equivalent is vegetable shortening, or butter.

Spotted Dick Image

Using a pudding sleeve

While it's traditional to steam the sponge in a pudding basin to give it its traditional shape, you can also try using a pudding sleeve.

If using a pudding sleeve, you should roll your pastry out, sprinkle a third of the dried fruit on it, fold in half and roll out again, repeating the process until you have added all of the dried fruit.

You then roll the pastry into a sausage shape and wrap loosely with a buttered piece of foil, finished by wrapping it in a cloth before placing in a pan to simmer. 

Spotted Dick Pic

This recipe is for the traditional version of Spotted Dick -  feel free to tweak it and get as creative as you like!

And if you love British desserts, be sure to try Bread and Butter Pudding and Treacle Sponge too!


Spotted Dick Sponge

    6 Servings


Spotted Dick:
  • 10 ounces All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 5 ounces Vegetable Shortening, (or use shredded suet, if available)
  • 3 ounces Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 4 ounces Dried Currants
  • zest of one Lemon
  • 200 milliliters Milk
  • 200 milliliters Milk
  • 200 milliliters Heavy Cream
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 3 ounces Fine Granulated Sugar


  1. To make the sponge, simply mix together the shortening, flour, baking powder, currants and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Pour in milk and mix well to create a soft dough, which should be sticky to the touch. 
  2. With your hands, rub butter onto the base and sides of a pudding basin before spooning the dough into it. 
  3. Fold a piece of greaseproof paper and cover the pudding basin and use string to tie over the ends. Place a damp cloth on top of the greaseproof paper, tying the ends of the cloth.
  4. Fill a pan large enough to accommodate the pudding basin about half way with water. Place the pudding basin into the water and cover the pan with a lid or foil.  Bring the water to a boil and simmer for an hour.
  5. For the custard, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl until slightly frothy.
  6. Bring milk and cream to a simmer in a small saucepan then pour the mixture onto the eggs, a little at a time. Whisk well with each addition. Once all combined, pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook on a low heat, using a spatula to stir until thickened. The custard can be served warm or cold, so place into the fridge to cool if you wish.
  7. Once the sponge is done, slice into wedges and place onto a plate. Drizzle the sponge with custard and serve. 
Source: BBC Food
BBC Food
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Related Recipes:
British Recipes, Pudding Recipes, Dessert Recipes
Recipe Yields:
6 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Christine Albury
Source: BBC Food
Recipe Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 85 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 219
Calories 699

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g
  Saturated Fat 5g
Sodium 4mg
Total Carbohydrate 78g
  Dietary Fiber 1g
  Sugars 41g
Protein 6g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Christine Albury

About Christine

I'm a mom of 5 and love making healthy baby food with wholesome, natural ingredients. In 2005 I started the Homemade Baby Food Recipes website, sharing recipes for everything from simple fruit purees to gourmet curries for the baby food connoisseur! You'll also find plenty of tried and tested tips to help encourage even the most reluctant diner to enjoy a wide range of nutritious new foods. If you enjoy cooking, then you will LOVE learning to become head chef for a very special little customer!

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