In a medium-sized saucepan, combine chopped dates and hot water and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and add baking soda.
Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Mix in eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.
Mix in vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, and salt.
Mix in dates and their liquid.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
In a medium-sized saucepan on low heat, stir together brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until the brown sugar is fully dissolved.
Remove from heat.
Whisk in the heavy cream.
Remove cupcakes from liners.
Using a cupcake corer or a small knife, cut a hole into the top of each cupcake.
Fill each hole to the top with the sauce.
Replace the cores. Let the sauce spill over onto the tops of the cupcakes when you press each core back into its hole.
Store in an airtight container.
When ready to serve, heat in an oven on low heat or in the microwave and top with whipped cream and more sauce.
When I made this recipe, I halved the sauce ingredients thinking that a pound of butter seemed extreme. Don't make this mistake. You will want all of that sauce. If you choose not to eat it all with your sticky toffee pudding cupcakes, you'll have extra to put over ice cream.