It is so light and moist, and without the sauce almost healthy :)
175g (6oz) dates stoned and chopped
300 ml (10fl oz) water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g (2oz) unsalted butter
175g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs beaten
175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
300 ml (10 fl oz) double cream
59g (2oz) Demerara sugar
2 teaspoons black treacle
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4 and grease a 2 lb loaf tin or line it - it was also suggested in the recipe that is work on a 28 x 18cm (11 x 7 inch) baking tin. I only line mine with a strip the length of the tin, and leave a bit so that I can pull it out. But the liners are good too, This picture is quite old and I must have used a liner then :)
Boil the dates in the water for about 5 mins until soft (does not take long), I did these in a bowl in the microwave, mash them with a fork then add the bicarbonate of soda. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (I normally start this whilst the dates are boiling), then add the eggs and beat well. Mix in the dates mixture, flour and vanilla essence then pour into the prepared tin. You don’t need to wait until the dates cool down. The mixture looks quite runny but don’t worry. Cook in a pre-heated oven for about 30-40 mins depending on size of tin, until just firm to the touch, it was more like 40 mins for me.
The actual cake will serve around 8 I reckon and the sauce 4 to 5 - as you can see we added a blob of clotted cream on ours, but we also like vanilla ice cream as well :)
It freezes really well and keeps moist for a long time. I just re heat it in the microwave. It is a nice cake on its own and is low in fat! If you intend to serve 8 you will need to double the quantity of sauce.