175g/6oz dates, chopped
1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g/2oz salted butter
150g dark brown sugar
2 free-range eggs
175g/6oz self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
butter, for greasing
For the sticky toffee topping
250ml/9fl oz double cream
80g/3oz dark brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
Pour 275ml/10fl oz boiling water into a large mixing bowl and add the dates. Stir and set aside until lukewarm. Meanwhile, measure out all the other ingredients for the sponge. Add them to the dates and water and mix together until well combined.
Blend the date mixture in a food processor until nearly smooth, but with a few specks of date still visible. Generously butter a baking dish on all surfaces and pour in the sponge batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Preheat the grill to medium.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by heating the ingredients gently, whisking regularly, until it briefly boils. Pour the topping over the cooked pudding.
Place the sticky toffee pudding under a moderate grill until bubbling.
Serve with your choice of cream or ice cream.
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