Pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven
rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable
spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan.
In a stainless steel (or heatproof) bowl place the dates and baking soda. Pour the
boiling water over the dates and stir to combine.
In another bowl
whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of
your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft and
creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the
sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and beat until
incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Then add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the dates, along
with their liquid. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25
minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out
clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Then
with a wooden skewer or toothpick poke holes over the entire surface of the cake.
Pour about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the toffee sauce evenly over the top of the cake.
While the cake is baking, place all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan.
Place over medium heat, and stirring constantly, heat until the butter melts and
the sugar has dissolved.
Serve the cake
warm from the oven with the remaining toffee sauce. If desired, sprinkle with
chopped pecans or walnuts.
Makes about 8 servings.
Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. Baking
Illustrated. America's Test Kitchen. Brookline: 2004.
Kane, Marion. Dish. Whitecap Books. Vancouver:
Martin, James. Desserts. Quadrille Publishing
Limited. London: 2007.
Monaghan, Gail. Lost Desserts. Rizzoli
International Publications, Inc. New York: 2007.
Norman, Jill. Winter Food. Kyle Cathie Limited.