- 1/2 pound Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or fine salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup demerara or light brown sugar (packed)
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Myer's Rum
- 1 vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped (seeds reserved)
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously grease one 8 1/2 inch round cake pan or twelve 1/3 cup ramekins with butter.
Make the pudding: Combine the dates and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda, and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, ground ginger and salt. Whisk to combine.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attached (or using a hand-held mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, vanilla, and orange zest.
Add half of the flour mixture and half of the date mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and beat on low until just combined. Add the remaining flour and remaining date mixture and continue to beat until just incorporated. Do not overmix the batter.
Transfer the batter to the cake pan (or ramekins) and bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with crumbs attached, 35 minutes for the cake pan or about 22 minutes for the ramekins.
While the pudding is baking, make the toffee sauce: Combine the heavy cream, butter, sugar, molasses, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, stirring often. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the rum and vanilla bean seeds. Set aside until ready to use.
When the pudding is done, remove it/them from the oven and let cool briefly. If you made one big pudding, using a toothpick, poke the pudding cake all over in about a dozen spots and pour the toffee sauce over the top. If you made individual ramekins, allow the puddings to cool briefly, then turn them out of the ramekins. Rinse the ramekins under warm water and wipe dry. Using a serrated knife, cut each pudding in half horizontally. Pour enough of the toffee sauce into the bottom of each ramekin to coat the bottom, then replace the bottoms of the pudding cakes. Pour a small amount of the sauce over the cakes in the ramekins, then place the top portion of the pudding cakes on top. Once again, pour the sauce over each pudding. Any remaining sauce may be passed at the table separately. Serve the pudding cakes with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Puddings are best served warm.