So, first preheat your oven to 180C/gas4. Grease and line a 28x18cm tin.
You need 225g of dates which you cut into pieces and put in a pan of water and bring to the boil. You boil them uncovered for about 10 mins till the dates are soft. Then take them off the heat and stir in 1 tspn of bicarbonate of soda, and leave to cool.
Cream together 175g of soft brown sugar and 115g of butter of margarine; add a tspn of vanilla extract.
gradually beat in 2 eggs and fold in the dates and 175g sr flour.
Spoon this mixture into your tin and bake for about 35 mins till nicely risen. If you need to, cover the cake for the last 10 mins as the dates are liable to burn.
To make the icing you heat 6tbspns of double cream, 80g soft brown sugar and 25g of butter gently in a saucepan till the sugar dissolves. Then bring to the boil and cook, uncovered for 4 mins till it's golden. Don't stir. Watch the mixture carefully, and take it off the heat if it gets too dark. Leave to cool.
When it's cool, beat in 25g of sifted icing sugar till it's smooth, then spread over the cake. I use a palette knife which I've wet to make a nice pattern on the cake. Leave the icing to set before you cut the cake.
A very indulgent cake - moist sponge, rich sticky sweetness from the dates, toffee icing - heaven in a slice!