In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup dates and the boiling water; let stand for 20 minutes.
Add flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup nuts, egg, butter or margarine, baking soda, and baking powder, stirring until combined.
Turn the mixture into a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup nuts, 1 cup dates, and 1 cup water. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 20 minutes or until mixture is a spreading consistency. Pour over cooled cake and spread evenly. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 16 servings.