Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and thoroughly grease 4 mini pudding moulds.
Add the dates to the dairy-free milk in a saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the dates are soft. Using an immersion blender or food processor, blitz until smooth, then stir in the bicarbonate of soda and set aside to cool.
Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. Pour in the date and milk mixture, stirring to combine everything.
Variations: To make a darker and stickier pudding, use soft dark brown sugar in the sponge, and for the sauce use just 30 g of golden syrup along with 20 g of molasses.
Sift in the flour and spices. Gently mix to make a wet dough with no lumps of raw flour.
Half fill the pudding moulds and bake for 18-20 minutes until the sponge is set and golden.
Cool on a wire rack before removing the mould.
To make the sauce while the puddings are baking, melt the syrup, sugar, margarine, and vanilla together. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce should thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the dairy-free cream.
Leave to cool a little, then pour the sauce over the sponges to serve.