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Method Prep:2hr › Cook:43min › Ready in:2hr43min
Put the dates and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and cover with the boiling water for 2 hours.
In a separate bowl, mix together the butter and sugar and then beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla essence. Beat in the flour and baking powder. Stir in the date mixture (this will leave you with a runny mixture). Pour into a greased ovenproof dish and bake at 200 degrees C for 40 minutes, until the sponge springs back up when pressed. While the pudding is baking make the toffee sauce.
To make the toffee sauce: Place all of the sauce ingredients (dark brown sugar, butter, double cream) in a pan; stir and bring to the boil for three minutes.
When the pudding is cooked, prick with a skewer several times, then pour over the toffee sauce.
Don't buy the date syrup ready made as its really easy to make and I would imagine the ready made stuff probably has loads of sugar in it. Also you want the fibre from the dates in the cake for added texture and gooeyness! - 20 Jun 2011