250g dates, pitted and finely chopped 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1 1/2 cups boiling water 125g softened butter cut into cubes, plus some extra for greasing the tin 3/4 cup of brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs, at room temperature 2 cups of self-raising flour, sifted
Ingredients for the caramel sauce topping:
1 cup of brown sugar 300ml thick cream 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 60g butter, cut into cubes
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C). Then butter and line a 22cm round, 7cm deep cake tin with baking parchment.
Put the dates and the bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Leave the mixture to stand uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the dates are softened.
Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of your food processor. Beat the ingredients with an electric mixer or in your food processor until the mixture has turned creamy and light-coloured. Then add the eggs one by one and mix them well into the cake batter. Next, add the date mixture and the flour and stir well with a large spoon until all ingredients are well combined.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning it out onto a wire rack.
For the caramel sauce topping, mix the sugar, cream, vanilla extract and butter in a saucepan and place it over medium heat. Keep stirring for 3 minutes or until the mixture has reached boiling point, then reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the sauce while it is still warm on the warm cake.
Your date cake with caramel sauce topping is now ready to be served!