• 125 g (4 oz) dried dates, stoned and chopped
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 50 g (2 oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 125 g (4 oz) rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • handful of chopped pecan nuts
  • thick cream
  • 200 g (7 oz) butter
  • 300 g (10 oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) double cream

Put the dates in a heatproof bowl, pour over the boiling water and stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Leave to soak for 10 minutes.

Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) square cake tin.

Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and soaked dates and their frothy liquid in a bowl. Pour into the prepared tin. Place in a preheated oven, 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4, for 25–30 minutes until firm to the touch.

Place all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan while the pudding cooking, and heat through until the sugar has dissolved. Cut the sponge into 8 pieces and serve warm in bowls topped with some thick cream, the toffee sauce and a scattering of pecan nuts.

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