150g medjool dates, stones removed and roughly chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250ml hot water
60g soft dark brown sugar
60g butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
150g self raising flour
For the toffee sauce:
300g soft dark brown sugar
200ml double cream
Ice cream, double cream, custard or creme fraiche
20cm oven proof dish
Preheat the oven to 180c
In a small bowl mix together the dates, bicarbonate of soda and the water and leave to soak for ten minutes (dates give the pudding an extra toffee taste, and the bicarbonate of soda helps to soften them).
In another bowl whisk the butter and sugar together using electric beaters until light and fluffy (this will ensure the sponge is light and fluffy). Add the eggs one by one, beating well between each addition. Add the flour and beat again, then the date mixture and give a final mix. Pour into a cake tin or ovenproof dish and bake for 35 minutes.
To make the sauce add the butter, sugar and cream to a thick bottomed pan over a medium heat (a thick bottomed pan is important so the heat is distributed evenly and the sugar doesn’t burn). Leave to melt together then simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Remove the sponge from the oven and set aside for a couple of minutes. Use a skewer to poke lots of little holes all over the sponge before pouring over ½ of the sauce (this allows the sauce to sink into the sponge, making it extra sticky and moist). Set aside for another couple of minutes so as much sauce is absorbed as possible, then serve up with the extra sauce on the side.
Serve with ice cream, double cream, custard or creme fraiche.