Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm cake tin.
Bring dates and orange juice to the boil in a small saucepan. Stir in Bi-Carb and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
Beat sugar and butter until creamy and pale. Add eggs until well combined.
Fold in date mixture, flour, baking powder and vanilla essence.
Pour mixture into tin and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
TO MAKE SAUCE: Bring all ingredients to the boil in a saucepan. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Serve warm pieces of sticky date pudding with warm caramel sauce.