Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 4/180C

150g dates, stones removed, chopped
250ml hot water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g butter, softened
60g caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
150g self raising flour

Toffee Sauce:
200g butter
400g brown sugar
vanilla pod, split
250ml double cream

  • Mix the dates, bicarbonate of soda and water together in a bowl, and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
  • In a clean bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Still stirring the butter mixture, gradually add the eggs, making sure they are well mixed in,
  • Still stirring, gradually add the flour, then add the date mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into a 20cm square cake tin.
  • Place into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cooked through.
  • To make the sauce, melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Add the brown sugar, vanilla pod and cream and stir well.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • To serve, spoon out a portion of the pudding onto a plate and pour over the hot toffee sauce.