Melted butter, to grease
200g dried pitted dates, coarsely chopped
250ml (1 cup) water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
Double cream or ice-cream, to serve
Fresh strawberries, to serve
200g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a round 20cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter to grease. Line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Place dates and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Fold in the date mixture and flour until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Meanwhile, to make the caramel sauce, stir the sugar, cream, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until smooth.
Cut pudding into wedges and pour over the caramel sauce. Serve with cream or ice-cream and strawberries.
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