You'll need a food processor, to make it all easy, and a 24cm non-stick cake tin with spring-back sides.


  • ingredients
  • 375 ml water
  • 250 g stoned dates
  • 3 pears (finely diced)
  • 150 g butter
  • 375 g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 450 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 500 ml cream
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 100 g soft brown sugar
  • 150 g butter
  • 400 ml creme fraiche


  • Method:
  • Heat the water, dates and pears in a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, until almost all the water has evaporated and the mixture is all soft. This takes about 25 minutes.
  • It should resemble a puree, but if it's still a bit chunky you can process until smooth in the food processor. Set aside until the cake bit is made.
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • In a food processor or cake mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed and add the eggs.
  • Sometimes the mixture separates and starts to look like sour milk or something equally yucky. If this happens, add a spoonful of flour and give it a whiz. Things should return to normal.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl, and fold in the flour and baking powder.
  • Add the date and pear puree, mix well and pour into the greased 24cm non stick cake tin with spring back sides. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
  • The sponge should be fairly firm in the centre and a knife should come out clean when inserted in the centre.
  • If not, cover with foil and cook for another 10 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the toffee sauce.
  • Method:
  • Heat everything, except for the crème fraiche, in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for about half an hour.
  • Whisk in the crème fraîche.
  • Unclip the side of the cake tin and, using a large knife, carefully slice the cake horizontally into two. This is a bit awkward but do your best, and if it falls apart, who cares! It'll all get drenched in toffee sauce so no-one will know.
  • Clip the side back on the cake tin and pour half the toffee sauce on to the bottom half of the cake.
  • Put the top half back on and pour over the remaining toffee sauce.
  • Cover with cling film (if sauce is leaking, put the whole lot into a roasting tin, or large plate) and keep overnight in the fridge, unless you are serving that day.
  • You can heat up the cake uncovered for about 15 minutes at 150°C before serving, or else serve it up cold. Whichever you prefer.

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