Sticky Date Toffee Cupcakes

Hi there!

So I got bored this afternoon and my baking itch wasn't satisfied with just the carrot cake I had made. I flipped through my Hummingbird Bakery Cakes Days book that Chris bought me (best present ever) and found this recipe for sticky date and caramel cupcakes. I was originally put off because they used this it called for an ingredient for dulche de leche, which is a South American tinned milk caramel. I found this at the Centre City New World but it was a hefty $8.99. Instead I bought a tin of condensed milk and made my own version on the stove top. (Right next to it, in the picture is the best lemon honey/curd you can buy in a jar! Aunty Von's, I highly recommend it).

I like sticky date pudding. I like it a lot. It is so moist and delicious, especially when drowned in caramel sauce and a bit dollop of sloppy whipped cream on top. As cupcakes, these are pretty close to the real deal. You include some of the caramel you made into the icing so the light and fluffy icing has a hint of caramel to it.

The other day I saw that you could buy caramel food flavouring in the baking isle now. That is pretty cool. If you were feeling a bit poor you could probably substitute the caramel in the icing for a few drops of essence. I might go and invest in some tomorrow.

What you cant substitute the essence for is the gooey layer of caramel that hides between the sponge and the icing. When you bite into it, it oozes outwards and all over the exposed sponge. Only one word can describe the deliciousness; NOMMMM.

Oh and if you want to make this even worse for you, top it all off with some pieces of caramel sprinkled over the top. It's worth it. I promise.

And just a special shout out to my brand new handbeater! Courtesy of Mum and Dad. I am sad to announce the passing of my dear old friend. He came to me second hand from my Mother and we had many happy memories together. Unfortunately he came to a very grinding halt. I shall miss him.

So anyway this is my new beater's maiden voyage :)

It's still so clean!

Hummingbird's Sticky Toffee Cupcakes

For the cupcake:
180g chopped dried dates
180 ml boiling water
80g unsalted butter, softened
150g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
180g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

For the caramel:
375g (1 tin) condensed milk
50g butter, chopped into small pieces
4 tablespoons golden syrup

For the icing:
80g butter, softened
400g icing sugar, sieved
3 tablespoons whole milk
100g caramel or dulche de leche


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius on bake.

First soak the dates in the boiling water for 20 minutes (if you are impatient like me pop them in the microwave for 1 minute to help speed up the process).

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale brown in colour and fluffy in consistency.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat until the mixture roughly doubles in volume.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this dry mix into the butter, sugar and egg mix in thirds, beating after each addition. Beat until the batter is smooth and even.

Add the vanilla to the water and date mix. Pour all of this into the rest of the mixture. Mix by hand until the dates and water are incorporated.

Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases and fill them 2/3 full.

Bake for 18 minutes or until they spring back when touched. Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack or clean tea towel.

In a small saucepan, heat the condensed milk, butter and golden syrup together on a medium heat. Stirring regularly. Heat until the butter has melted and has been incorporated into the condensed milk. Keep heating and stirring until it turns a darker tan colour (a wee bit darker than the photo below) and becomes quite thick. Take it off the heat and leave it to cool.

Cream the butter and a small amount of the sieved icing sugar. Keep adding icing sugar slowly, adding milk in between additions to moisten the mixture. If the mixture is too stiff, add a splash more milk. Add more icing sugar if it is too sloppy. Next add the caramel.I found that after the addition of the caramel the icing becomes quite soft and a bit more icing sugar was needed to stiffen it up again. Beat until fluffy and smooth.

Place a small dollop of the left over caramel onto the top of each cupcake. Next place the icing into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip (or equivalent). Starting at the outer edge, squeeze the piping bag and start and inward spiral, overlapping the previous circle ever so slightly. Swirl around and up, moving the nozzle up and down quickly at the top to release the peak from the nozzle. sprinkle over a few caramel pieces (I used jersey caramels) and you are good to go.

Do give these a go, they are not that difficult actually. A few components to think about but the left over jar of caramel sitting in our fridge is well worth the effort!

See you later! :)