Place dates, soda bicarb and boiling water in a small bowl. Leave to soak for 15 minutes. Cream butter, sugar, add egg, flour, salt and date mixture. Pour into a greased 9-inch dish and cook for 1- 1.25 hours at 375 F or 190 C.
Pour syrup over the cake when cool and serve with cream. Heat water and sugar gently, then boil for 5 minutes. Add vanilla essence and butter cool slightly. Pour the sauce over the cake while syrup is still warm.
Note: Add some grated orange ring to the filling and use some for decoration.