200g medjool dates, de-stoned and chopped

400ml boiling water


1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 150g brown sugar


150g butter, softened
2 large eggs


150g self-raising flour
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon


1⁄2 tsp mixed spice


1 tbsp baking powder

FOR THE TOFFEE SAUCE 50g butter


250g Muscovado sugar 125ml double

cream

1 double shot of rum

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT
900g (2lb) loaf tin or 23cm (9in)

round baking tin

Preheat the oven to 180oC (fan 160°C/gas mark 4). Pop the dates in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Add the bicarbonate of soda and leave to soak and cool.

In a bowl or stand mixer, mix the brown sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and whisk together. Next add the cooled dates and most of the liquid and whisk until combined.

Finally, add
the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice and baking powder. Mix until fully incorporated.

Next, line and butter the loaf tin or baking tin. I prefer to use a loaf tin for this recipe. Add the cake mixture and pop in the oven for 35–45 minutes or until the knife comes out clean.

While the sponge is baking, start making the toffee sauce. In a pan heat the butter and sugar together until melted, then add the double cream. Bring up to the boil then add the rum.

When the sponge is ready, dot with a few holes here and there. Pour half the sauce over the sponge while it’s still in the tin and allow it to soak in for 15–20 minutes.

Remove from the tin, slice thickly and serve with vanilla ice cream and the remaining sauce.