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The Perfect Sticky Date Pudding

This has and always will be my husband's favourite dessert - if it is ever on the menu he struggles to resist ordering it, even if full to the brim. I love having a fool-proof version like this one that I can make for his birthday or when I feel like spoiling him. This one never fails to make a crowd happy.

"What more can I say... The way to a man's heart..."– Lisa Gunthorpe.

Pictured: Stick Date Pudding, small muffin size

175g pitted and chopped dates, as an alternative you can use dried apricots or figs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml boiling water
60g softened butter
¾ cup castor sugar
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 ½ cups self-raising flour, sifted
½ tsp vanilla
125g unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
200ml cream

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line an 18cm square cake tin or six small pudding moulds.

Place dates in bowl, add bicarbonate of soda and pour boiling water over. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar til pale and fluffy; add eggs bit by bit, beating well after each addition.
Fold in self-raising flour, then dates and their juice, and vanilla.
This will be a wet mixture.

Pour into tin, and bake for 35 - 40 minutes for one large cake, or 20 – 25 minutes if making 6 individual cakes - bake til risen and skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile make sauce - Put all ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes.

When pudding is cooked, pour into ovenproof dish, pour some sauce over and place back in oven for 5 mins, or til golden and bubbling.

Cut into squares and serve with remaining sauce, plus cream or ice-cream.

Can be made in advance and reheated in oven to serve. Can also serve left overs cold with tea or coffee.

Serves 6 - 8