Pineapple and cherry sandwich cake on stand

Top 10 retro British desserts

Fancy a trip down memory lane? Try our top 10 favourite retro British puddings for some seriously nostalgic sweet treats and modern twists.

Forget lumpy custard and stodgy rice pudding – our old-school homemade desserts never fail to please a crowd. We’re dreaming of soft, toffee-soaked sponge and spoonfuls of seasonal fruity crumbles and if you are too, you’re in luck. Whether you’re deovted to the classics or want to try a fun twist on the original, we have triple-tested recipes to suit every situation. Cut yourself a slice of pineapple-upside down cake while you decide – choosing your favourite bake can’t be rushed.

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Try making your favourite childhood sweet treats and re-live these nostalgic British desserts.

1. Arctic roll

We’re on a roll! Both kids and adults alike will be champing at the bit for a slice of this icy beauty. This classic frozen dessert is easier to make than you think; just follow our step-by-step recipe guide. Our arctic roll has three irresistible components: smooth vanilla ice cream, light sponge cake and homemade strawberry jam.

Try our twist:
Wrap up two incredible retro puds in one in the form of our Black Forest arctic roll. Who could resist chocolate sponge and tart black cherry jam? Try turning your arctic roll into a baked alaska with our extra special yule log with toasted meringue topping.

2. Pineapple upside-down cake

Crack open the tin of pineapple rings and prepare for syrupy perfection. Our easy pineapple upside-down cake will be the highlight of any afternoon tea or dinner with family and friends. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a suitably chuckle-worthy school days annecdote.

Try the twist:
Our sticky upside-down banana cake gives an irresistible twist to this seventies classic. Deliciously dark brown caramelised bananas on top of a spice-laced sponge is bound to become an instant classic.

3. Jelly & ice cream

A glistening, wobbly tower of jelly is a sight to behold. Our fresh raspberry jelly uses just five ingredients and makes a stunning summer dessert. Use a classic mould for a true retro sensation with an intense fruity flavour. Check out more colourful designs and fabulous flavours in our guide to the great British jelly.

Try the twist:
Make the ultimate picnic treat with our layered boozy Pimms jelly jars. Add your favourite summer fruits topped with a layer of cream, a slice of cucumber and a sprig of mint for a refreshing and portable sweet. Go wild with our guide on how to make jelly shots for your next party. Need something to make ahead of time? Try our fun stripy fruity milk jellies.

4. Bread & butter pudding

Create something special from standard, storecupboard staples and transform a few stale slices of bread into our classic bread & butter pudding. Layer up a rich vanilla custard, dried fruit and lemon zest then bake until golden brown and crisp on top.

Try the twist:
We absolutely cannot resist a mash-up, so we’ve created the roly-poly pudding. These snug whirls of colour set in a delicate custard are a real family-friendly treat. Go for an indulgent chocolate version with marmalade glaze for a lazy weekend option. Or, try our toffee apple bread & butter pudding for a doubly delicious puffed up pud.

5. Sticky toffee pudding

If there’s ever a pudding to steal our hearts, it’s the sticky toffee pudding. Crowning glory of British dessert menus and reigning champion of easy and impressive bakes, this sticky sweet is worth mastering. Served warm with cream or custard, this treacle-topped stunner is a classic for a reason.

Try the twist:
Try our lighter vegan version, packed with dates, spices and squidgy pears. Want the pudding without the wait? Go for our quick version that takes just fifteen minutes to plate up.

6. Crumble

The crumble is so adaptable, there’s a recipe for whatever fruit you have to hand. Try the traditional comforting apple recipe, then try adding a few fun additions like caramel or mixed berries. Crumble is practically a national institution, so why limit yourself to just one kind? Read our guide to glorious fruity crumbles for every season.

Try the twist:
Got a glut of fruit to use up? Make our orchard crumble stuffed with plums, figs, apples and blackberries. We even love crumble in an easy-to-slice traybake or in rhubarb muffin form. Looking for a simple spin that keeps your favourite flavour? Bake our apple crumble loaf cake. Even confirmed crumble haters will want a slice.

7. Spotted dick

Our list wouldn’t be complete without a traditional steamed pudding. This doorstop slice of deliciousness uses old-school suet, citrus zest and juicy currants for a burst of flavour. Lashings of homemade custard are most definitely compulsory.

Try the twist:
Make a super speedy 10 minute version of the original recipe in your microwave. Mix up a boozy sloe-gin fruity pudding for an equally addictive dish that’s not for kids.

8. Rice pudding

The simplest recipes are often the tastiest. Our creamy vanilla rice pudding uses a handful of ingredients and takes just five minutes to prep. Swirl in fresh fruit, a spoonful of compote or homemade jam for an easy family favourite you can adapt to your liking.

Try the twist:
Take this basic pudding up a notch with our dinner-party worthy burnt butterschotch rice pudding. Crack the crunchy brûlée topping to get to the creamy, indulgent vanilla base. Or give your childhood favourite a Spanish twist with our recipe for arroz con leche with plump strawberries in sherry.

9. Chocolate sponge with custard

We’re all familiar with a slice of sponge chiselled from a tray and served with lukewarm custard. Abadon those memories and indulge in our revamped chocolate sponge with hot chocolate custard. Dates add a natural sweetness and keep the cake moist. Kids will be thrilled with the cocoa-spiked custard and there’s enough to serve a crowd of hungry guests.

Try the twist:
Give your sponge a subtle nutty flavour with our chocolate & sesame loaf cake complete with sesame snap shards. Take a walk on the wild side and bake our chocolate & raspberry zebra cake. Or check out our chocolate cake recipe collection for even more inspiration.

10. Roly-poly

Everyone’s familiar with the pink swirls of the jam roly-poly. The perfect end to a traditional Sunday roast, try subbing in chocolate spread if jam isn’t your thing. With a drizzle of that ever-present homemade custard, this really is an all-time great British classic. Make it in advance and freeze for a ready-made marvel.

Try the twist:
If you just can’t resist a choclatey treat, try our jam & white chocolate roly-poly. Our twist fuses a traditional roly-poly and a spongey swiss roll. Want something a little more bite-sized? Try a swiss-roll style scone with our fruity spiced swirls.

Enjoyed these? Take a look at our other classic recipes…

Our ultimate British recipe colleciton
Must-try classic cake recipes
Video: how to make a Victoria sponge cake

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What’s your all-time favourite retro pudding? Leave a comment below…