Sticky Date Pudding

Until a few weeks ago, I had never even heard of sticky date pudding.  But then I heard about it for a few weeks before I finally gave in and made it (in hopes that the not-so-subtle hints my teammate Lauren was dropping for me to make the cake would cease).  Boy am I glad I finally took the hint and made it!! It is delicious and would be the perfect dessert after Thanksgiving, or really any time you can come up with an excuse to make it.

Sticky Date Pudding
(adapted from an Australian recipe)

date pudding slicecake:
-1 cup of pitted, chopped dates
-1 teaspoon of baking soda
-1 ½ cups of boiling water
-½ cup of butter
-1 cup of brown sugar
-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
-2 eggs
-1 ¾ cups of self-raising flour **(see below)

caramel sauce:
-1 cup of brown sugar
-1 ¼ cup of half and half
-½ teaspoon of vanilla
-1/4 cup of butter

Directions:
entire date pudding cakePreheat the oven to 350.  Grease and flour an 8×8 or round cake pan.  Place the dates and baking soda in a bowl and pour the boiling water over.  Let stand for 20 minutes.  Using an electric mixture (or just muscle in my case), beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Using a large metal spoon fold in the flour mixture and then add the date mixture until thoroughly combined.  Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean.  Turn immediately onto a plate (I turned it onto one plate and then flipped that over onto another plate so the pudding was face up).  In the last 15-20 minutes while the pudding is baking, prepare the sauce.  Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring continuously, until the sauce comes to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer (the original recipe called for 2 minutes, but I probably simmered it for about 10 because my timing was a bit off, but it still worked great!).  Ideally the timing works out so that it is done simmering right as you take the pudding out of the oven.  Pierce the pudding all over with a skewer.  Pour ½-¾ cup of warm sauce over the warm pudding.  Let stand for 10 minutes and then serve, drizzling the left over sauce on top.

**Self-raising flour: if you don’t have any on hand, you can make your own.  The basic conversion is 1 cup of flour + 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder + ½ teaspoon of salt.  To get the 1 ¾ cups as called for in the recipe, I just doubled this (2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt and then removed ¼ of a cup of the mixture).

Lauren loving it!

Notes/Variations:
-I used Medjool Dates and once they were pitted and sliced it measured to about 1 1/2 cups total (I didn’t pack them down tightly, just allowed them to space out as they did when placed in the measuring cup)
-I went the tried and true method, but you can also play around and add walnuts for an extra crunch or even try adding a teaspoon of brandy to the mixture before baking

Enjoy!!!

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