Sticky Toffee Cupcakes

The inspiration for this recipe comes from the classic desert, sticky toffee pudding. The sponge is very similar to the sticky toffee pudding sponge with dates and the buttercream is flavoured with an indulgent dulce de leche sauce. 

My family have been making these cupcakes for a few years and I would say they are our show-stopping, signature bake! These are perfect to make for special occasions because while being relatively simple, they have a big impact. Since my friend (and colleague) is returning to the office this week after 6 months away, I obviously had to bake these as a welcome back present! 

This recipe may appear to require a lot of ingredients but the majority of these are cupboard staples which any keen baker is likely to stock, such as flour, bicarbonate of soda and icing sugar. In fact the only ingredients I had to buy specifically for this bake were the dates and light muscovado sugar (as we had run out) so it was a very cheap bake.

180g pitted medjool dates, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
80g unsalted butter, softened 
150g light muscovado sugar
2 eggs

For the buttercream:
160g salted butter, softened
200g icing sugar
4 tbsp dulce de leche 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 tsp salt 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 
2. Soak the dates in 180ml boiling water for 20 minutes. While soaking, gently break up the dates with a fork and stir in the vanilla extract. 
3. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside. 
4. Cream together the butter and muscovado sugar for around 5 minutes until light and fluffy. 
5. Add the eggs gradually, beating between each addition, combined with a tablespoon of flour, to prevent curdling. Then add the remaining flour and the date mixture. 
6. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for 15-20 minutes.

7. While the cakes are cooling make the buttercream. Cream the salted butter and icing sugar for 5 minutes. Then add the dulce de leche, salt and vanilla extract.
8. Scoop the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle and pipe onto each cupcake. 
Note to all the health conscious bakers out there – these are definitely not fat free (not by a long way!) but everyone needs an indulgent treat every now and again and these are worth the calories, I promise! 
I haven’t used buttercream for a long time (I usually use cream cheese icing) and I had forgotten how much easier it is to work with. I much prefer the taste of cream cheese frosting however it’s susceptible to becoming runny when not kept in the fridge. This is a particular problem at this time of year (it was 26 degrees this weekend and it felt even warmer in our kitchen with a massive AGA still on!) Buttercream, on the other hand, sets much firmer – which is surprising given that it has a high butter content! 
View from above
Hannah xx


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