Moist, sweet, moreish and very straightforward to make, this is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. It can be prepared entirely in advance and will keep very well once cooked, lasting five or six days in an airtight box in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer. Before serving, just warm it up in a low oven for about 15 minutes covered (defrost first if it has been frozen).
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Butter and flour the sides of a 20cm (8in) diameter spring-form/loose-bottomed tin, or a 20 x 20cm (8 x 8in) square cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
Place the chopped dates and tea in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for a few minutes to soften the dates, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Beat the butter in a large bowl or an electric food mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the mixed spice and vanilla extract. Fold in the date mixture. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and fold in gently until mixed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is just firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Allow to stand in the tin for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a serving plate. While the cake is cooking, make the toffee sauce.
To serve, cut into slices (or squares if it is in a square tin) and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and a very generous drizzle of warm toffee sauce over the top!
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan set over a high heat and boil for approximately 4–5 minutes, stirring regularly, until it has thickened. Serve warm
This can also be served with boozy toffee sauce instead of the regular toffee sauce. For the boozy toffee sauce, CLICK HERE
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