Date and almond cake with warm butterscotch sauce

Serves 8-10

For the cake

335g/11oz unsalted butter
335g/11oz caster sugar
7 eggs
335g/11oz plain flour
1tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
120g/4oz ground almonds
Zest of one orange and two unwaxed lemons
15 good-quality soft dates
2tbsp Pedro Ximénez sherry

For the butterscotch sauce

120g/4oz unsalted butter
120g/4oz soft brown sugar
100ml/3fl oz double cream

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas5. Line and prepare a 10in cake tin.

Cream the butter and the sugar together in an electric mixer until light and pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together and fold into the butter mix in three batches. Fold in the almonds, orange and lemon zest and set aside.

To prepare the dates, remove the seeds and chop roughly. Place in a bowl and cover with 3 tablespoons of warm water to soften for 10 minutes. Now pour over the Pedro Ximénez and stir well to combine.

Spread the date mixture over the bottom of the cake tin and spoon the mix on top, tapping the base of the tin gently on the work surface to ensure you have no air bubbles. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out.

For the butterscotch sauce, place the butter, sugar and cream together in a saucepan, place over a medium heat. bring to a simmer and stir to combine. Allow to just come to a boil, remove from the heat and spoon over the warm cake.

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