1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350 °. Butter and flour Bundt pan. Bring dates and 1-1/4 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 1-1/2 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 cake pan.
- 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.
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.