This is special enough for company and simple enough for a mid-week family dessert. The caramel sauce is just so good and the dates make it a great Rosh Hashanah dessert.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine, room temperature, plus more for pan
1-1/2 cups sifted flour plus more for pan
1-1/2 cups chopped pitted dates (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup pareve whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted margarine
1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pareve Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350 °. Grease a large Bundt pan. Bring dates and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan with tall sides. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will become foamy). Set aside; let cool.
Whisk 1-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup margarine, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend (mixture will be grainy). Add 1 egg; beat to blend. Add half of flour mixture and half of date mixture; beat to blend. Repeat with remaining 1 egg, flour mixture, and date mixture. Pour batter into Bundt pan.
Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 40 –45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert pudding onto rack. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
Bring sugar, pareve cream, and margarine to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in brandy, if using, and vanilla. If preparing sauce ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator. Rewarm gently before using.
Cut cake into wedges. Serve with sauce and whipped cream.