1. Use butter to grease a 20cm non stick loose bottomed cake tin (I only line the base). Preheat the oven to 190°C fan.
2. Use a sharp knife to chop the dates into small pieces (a knife is better than a food processor as the dates are very sticky and will just clog up the blade).
3. Place the chopped dates in a small saucepan, add in the water and bring to a simmer for 3 minutes until the dates are softened.
4. Next add the bicarbonate of soda and stir in to combine. Set aside.
5. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric whisk to mix the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes until well creamed. Gradually whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the vanilla and treacle.
6. Whisk in the flour and when fully combined, whisk in the softened dates (including the liquid in the saucepan).
7. Add the batter to the cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of a preheated oven at 190°C for approx 35-40 minutes until firm to the touch and the sides of the cake are pulling away from the walls of the tin. Then test if it’s done by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake to see if it comes out clean. If not done, reduce the temperature to 160°C and bake for a further 5-10 minutes.
8. To make the butterscotch sauce, in a small saucepan over a medium heat, melt the sugar and butter together and bring to a simmer. Add in the cream, stir until fully combined and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Add in a pinch of sea salt flakes.
9. Reheat the cake and serve with hot butterscotch sauce.