This is a recipe I found a while ago because I had a surplus of dates thanks to Costco. When we had the sticky toffee pudding in Turf Tavern, it reminded me of this recipe.
After having made this many, many times, I've changed a few things to reduce the ridiculous amount of calories and (hopefully) make it taste better. I've written out the original ingredients/quantities in case someone wants to try that first.
1 cup dates (preferably not ones that are completely dried out)
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter (original: 1/2)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (original: 1 cup white sugar)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (original: walnuts)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease and flour the baking dish. I use a 9" round cake/pie pan.
3. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring dates and water to a boil. ** make sure the saucepan has enough room for double the water and dates mixture since a later step causes lots of bubbling
4. Stir in 1/4 (original: 1/2) cup butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar (original 1 cup sugar) until melted.
5. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. It will bubble up. Let cool enough so that the egg won't scramble when you mix it in.
6. Place date mixture into a bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
7. Add the 1 1/2 cups flour. It's better to sift or stir the flour separately with a whisk to make sure there aren't any lumps.
8. Stir in chopped nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan.
9. Bake in the oven for 40 to 60 minutes. This is a wide range, but it just depends on the oven. The usual inserting a toothpick to check doneness works well.
10. Start making the sauce about 15 minutes before the cake is done so it's warm and ready when you get the cake out. To make the sauce, combine 1/4 cup butter with 1/3 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup brown sugar over medium heat. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Don't let it boil.
11. As soon as you get the cake out of the oven, let it cool just enough so you can transfer it to your serving dish and move it (gently!).
12. Poke the top of the cake with a fork pretty well and then pour on the sauce to let it soak in. Save some for serving if you like. (original: Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with sauce. Much more bleh than serving it warm)
I would add a picture of the cake, but the cake has yet to stick around long enough for pictures after it comes out of the oven. It looks like a lot of steps but they really aren't that complicated or time consuming!