Finely chop up the dates and add to a bowl. Top with the baking soda. Pour in hot water, lightly mix, and let sit for 20 minutes.
Combine the room temperature butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Use a whisk to mix well. Once it's creamy add the egg and continue to mix.
Add the soaked dates to Step 2 and use a spoon or spatula to mix. Sift in the flour and fold in.
Pour into a baking pan covered with parchment paper, and bake in the preheated oven at 175℃ for 30 minutes (adjust the time depending on how it's cooking).
Make the caramel sauce. Add all of the ★ ingredients to a saucepan and heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce to low heat and simmer for a few minutes. Pour on top of the baked pudding and enjoy. It's most delicious when eaten warm.
Story Behind this Recipe
This is a common Australian recipe. I'd eaten this in cafes and wanted to try making it myself. So I looked up the recipe and gave it a shot. This pudding refers to a baked cake with dry fruits mixed in. It's pretty high in calories.
Self-rising flour is flour with baking powder already mixed in, often found in the west. If you can't get any, you can substitute by mixing in baking powder, etc into regular flour.