sticky toffee pudding

for the date puree
375g stoned dates
375ml water
1/2 inch knob of peeled ginger kept whole

simmer the dates and ginger in the water over low heat about 15 minutes until they are very soft and the water has almost evaporated. remove the knob of ginger and discard. process the remaining water and dates until very smooth
for the toffee sauce

640 ml heavy cream
340 g caster (granulated) sugar
130 g liquid glucose (optional)
130 g unsalted butter
generous pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla

pour half the cream, sugar, glucose (if using), butter and salt into a thick-bottomed pan and mix well.  bring the sauce to a boil, stirring with wooden spoon, and continue to boil until it is golden brown.  remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly. whisk in the remaining cream and vanilla. set aside

for the sponge
130 g unsalted butter--room temperature
375 g dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
450 g strong plain flour (bread flour)
10 g baking powder
3 g baking soda
3 g kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

grease and line a baking tin measuring approximately 30x24x6cm, with parchment paper. sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, clove,ginger and cardamom.  in a mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  add eggs one at a time, do not allow the mixture to separate. if it does, add a bit of flour to bind it back together. add vanilla. scrape the sides of the bowl and beat until the mixture is smooth.  fold in flour mixture until smooth.  add the warm date puree and mix well.  spread in prepared tin and bake for about 45-50 minutes at 350. use a cake tester to ensure you do not overbake.
to assemble
once cooled, remove the cake from the tin and trim the edges.  slice horizontally into 3 and reassemble in the baking tin, spreading two thirds of the sauce between layers. just before you are ready to serve, place the cake back in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes, then cut into equal servings.  top with remaining toffee sauce. you can serve with softly whipped cream, creme fraiche, soured cream or ice cream