This cake is an English classic. From the amber-colored toffee sauce to the date cake, everything harmonizes so perfectly that I need more occasions to make it. You may wonder if the recipe translates well into a non-dairy version, but unfortunately (or maybe thankfully), it doesn’t. It’s best to make the cake dairy, for the flavor the dairy ingredients add.
To prepare the cake, place the chopped dates in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the dates and stir in the baking soda. Cover the bowl and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a Bundt pan (or 9- x 13-inch baking pan).
After 30 minutes, blend the date-water mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and sugars. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions, and then add the salt. Stir in the flour, then the date purée. Pour the batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 350°F for 45–50 minutes (25–30 minutes for a 9- x 13-inch pan) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow the cake to cool. Transfer to a serving plate.
To prepare the sauce, combine the butter, cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Continue simmering for 10 minutes, whisking often, until the mixture thickens and turns a deep amber color.
Drizzle toffee sauce over the Bundt cake and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt, or cut individual slices and drizzle each one with the toffee sauce and a pinch of sea salt.