Put the dates in a small pan with the apricots, spice and honey, then pour over the orange juice. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 mins, until the dates have broken down and you have a thick, syrupy sauce. Stir in the nuts.
Cut the cake in half lengthways, on the horizontal. Use a 150ml ramekin to cut out 4 circles from the cake. Divide the date mix between the 4 ramekins, then top with the circles of cake, pressing them down gently. Cover with cling film and microwave on high for 3 mins, then turn out onto a plate and serve with cream or ice cream.
Medjool dates have a soft texture, with a wrinkled skin and sweet flesh. They break down into a delicious pulp when cooked, making them ideal for this recipe, although prepacked chopped dates will also work.
Spiced pear pudding
If you’re not a fan of dates, swap the madeira cake for ginger loaf cake, preparing it in the same way. For the sauce, peel, core and chop 4 medium pears and put into a pan with a handful sultanas or raisins, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, zest 1 lemon, 2 tbsp honey and a splash orange juice. Cook gently for 10 mins until the pear is softened and starting to turn pulpy, adding a little more juice if it becomes dry. Assemble and microwave as before.