For the Cake
- 5 ounces pitted dates
- 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 1 scant cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground clove
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- Heavy cream (optional)
- Ice cream (optional)
Make the cake: Place dates in a small saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Place pan over medium heat and bring to a boil; cook until dates are very soft, about 5 minutes.
Drain the dates and discard cooking liquid. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter an 8-by-8-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper.
Add butter and brown sugar to bowl of food processor with dates; process until smooth.
Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, flour, and salt; process until smooth. Spoon batter into prepared pan; transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into cake comes out dry, 40 to 45 minutes.
Make the sauce: Meanwhile, place butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Add heavy cream and cook over low heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolved, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until sauce has thickened and darkened, about 10 minutes; remove from heat and set aside.
Cut cake into squares and transfer to serving plates. Spoon sauce over cake and serve with cream or ice cream, if desired.