Buy Medjool dates if you can – they have a lovely natural toffee flavour and sticky texture.
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the dates and tea in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for 3–4 minutes to soften the dates. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
Beat the butter and caster sugar together with electric beaters until pale and creamy, then beat in the egg, flour and mixed spice. Fold in the date mixture and pour into
a buttered ovenproof dish or brownie tin. Bake for
30–35 minutes or until the top is just firm to touch.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by putting the sugar, butter and cream in a pan over a low heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Cook until the sauce is a lovely toffee colour. Cut the pudding into squares and serve with the warm sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.