Step 1In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the butter, heavy cream and sugar over medium-high heat, stirring until the butter and sugar are melted. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, brandy and salt, and hold in a warm place until ready to serve the cakes. If not using right away, cool the sauce, then refrigerate up to 5 days until ready to serve, rewarming before using.
Step 1In a medium saucepan, combine the dates, water and brandy over high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes to soften the dates, making sure the chopped pieces are broken up and not clumped together. Remove from heart and immediately stir in the baking soda, keeping in mind that the soda will foam up. Set the mixture aside to cool.
Step 2Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heavily butter 6 (4-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator while preparing the pudding batter.
Step 3In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add molasses, egg and vanilla, and beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour and baking powder, careful not to overmix. Fold in the cooled date mixture by hand using a spatula or large spoon.
Step 4Divide the mixture among the prepared ramekins, filling each approximately three-fourths of the way full. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until the pudding is set and firm on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and poke holes into the hot puddings. Pour over some heated toffee sauce to soak the puddings. Serve the puddings warm, with sauce on the side topped with whipped cream. (If not serving right away, cook the cakes and then refrigerate up to 3 days; rewarm before serving.)