170g dates, stones removed and roughly chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
55g butter, softened
170g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
170g self-raising flour, sifted
1/2½tsp vanilla essence
For the sauce:
200g soft light brown sugar
6 tbsp double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1. Place the dates in a saucepan with 284ml cold water. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line the base of either an 18cm square loose bottomed tin or a 20cm spring-form round tin.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a Kenwood kitchen machine, using the whisk attachment. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour then stir in the dates and their liquid and the vanilla essence.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and springy when gently pressed in the centre.
5. For the sauce mix the sugar, cream, butter and vanilla together in saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Pour a little sauce over the pudding then put it back in the oven for a few minutes until golden brown. Serve the pudding drizzled with the remaining sauce.