Bring sugar, cream, and butter to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in brandy, if using, and vanilla. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm gently before using.
Cut cake into wedges. Serve with sauce and whipped cream.
- 1/4cup(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1 1/2cups sifted all-purpose flour plus more for pan
- 1 1/2cups chopped pitted dates (about 6 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2teaspoonSea salt
- 1teaspoonvanilla extract
- 2large eggs
- 1 1/4cups(packed) light brown sugar
- 1/2cupheavy cream
- 1/4cup(1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1teaspoonbrandy (optional)
- 1/2teaspoonvanilla extract
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
EquipmentA 6-cup Bundt pan or 6 one-cup Bundt pan molds
Preheat oven to 350 °. Butter and flour Bundt pan. Bring dates and 11/4 cups water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan with tall sides. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will become foamy). Set aside; let cool.
Whisk 11/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend (mixture will be grainy). Add 1 egg; beat to blend. Add half of flour mixture and half of date mixture; beat to blend. Repeat with remaining 1 egg, flour mixture, and date mixture. Pour batter into mold.
Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 40 –45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert pudding onto rack. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.