More of a cake than a pudding, this classic English treat is a great holiday dessert. With flavors of toffee and date, it's simply delicious.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In a small saucepan, combine dates and 1 cup water; bring to a boil over medium-high. Add baking soda and stir until dates begin to break down and mixture thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, allspice, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined (mixture may look curdled). Scrape down bowl.
With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with date mixture and beginning and ending with flour mixture. Increase speed to medium and beat to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted in center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, make Toffee Sauce.
Set baking pan on a wire rack and poke holes all over top of cake with skewer. Pour 1/2 cup Toffee Sauce over cake; let stand 10 minutes. Cut cake into squares and serve warm with remaining sauce.