- With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 200 °C (400 °F).
- In a saucepan, bring the cream, brown sugar, and butter to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour half the caramel into a 20-cm (8-inch) square baking dish or a 2 litres (8 cups) capacity pan. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the dates, baking soda and vanilla. Stir to blend. Set aside.
- In a bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar and molasses with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. On low speed, add the self-rising flour alternately with the milk. Gently stir in the date mixture.
- Spread the batter into the baking dish over the caramel. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cake surface is spongy and is no longer liquid. Let cool.
- Prick the entire surface of the cake with a fork and gently pour the remaining caramel sauce over. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
We prefer to double or even triple the sauce recipe. In this case, use a third of the caramel sauce to cover the bottom of the dish and another third to cover the warm surface of the cake. Keep the remaining sauce for service.