Everyone's favourite winter pudding, this time with extra spices. The caramel sauce is easily made on the spot.
For the pudding
200g dates, pitted and chopped (medjool dates work best if you can find them)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200ml boiling water
80g butter, softened
150g soft brown unrefined sugar
2 free-range eggs
180g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
For the toffee sauce
80g soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter
For the pudding:
-Heat oven to 180C. Place the dates and bicarb in a heat-proof bowl and add the boiling water. Leave to cool.
- Cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes until smooth, then beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Gently fold in the flour and spices. Add the date liquid and most of the dates, and mix well until smooth.
- Pour the batter into a lightly buttered 24cm x 10cm deep-sided loaf tin or round or square 18cm-diameter cake tin. Press the remaining dates gently into the batter, and bake for 45 minutes or until firm.
For the sauce:
-Bring the sauce ingredients to the boil and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring, until thickened. Cut the pudding into thick wedges or slabs and serve with the sauce and an extra drizzle of cream.
Tip: For sticky toffee cupcakes, divide the batter between large muffin patty cases and bake for 25 minutes or until springy to the touch.