Ingredients (serves 8)
250g pitted dates, chopped
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
125g butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup brown sugar
300ml thickened cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
60g butter, chopped
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 7cm deep, 22cm (base) cake pan and line base with baking paper.
Place dates and bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water. Allow to stand, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until dates are tender.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a large metal spoon, stir in date mixture and flour. Mix until well combined.
Spoon mixture into cake pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.
Make caramel sauce: Combine sugar, cream, vanilla and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until boiling. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 minutes. Pour warm sauce over warm cake. Cut into wedges. Serve.