IN THE KITCHEN: To make the sponge, place the dates in a saucepan with the water, bring to the boil and gentle simmer for 5 minutes or until the dates have gone soft. (Don't allow them to boil dry, you want to have about 2 tbsp liquid remaining in the pan.) Meanwhile in a mixing bowl whisk the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy before beating in 2 eggs. Once the dates have softened add in the 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and mix well. Add the dates, the flour and vanilla sugar/extract to the creamed mixture and beat well with a balloon whisk. Lightly butter a 10 small ramekins and pour into ramekins so they are 1/3 full For the sauce, place the double cream, Demerara sugar and black treacle in a saucepan and bring to the boil, while stirring cook out for 5 minutes until dark brown and fairly thick.