Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Sticky Toffee Cupcakes

I <3 cupcakes! 
They're so personal, versatile, delicious, pretty and the perfect size! I love finding excuses to make cupcakes and in August my boyfriend's birthday was the perfect occasion. I usually just do chocolate or vanilla with buttercream but he wanted some toffee/caramel kind of flavour so after lots of recipe searching I opted to go for sticky toffee cupcakes with a dulche de leche buttercream.

It's so hard to find recipes that are suitable for the UK, all the best recipes seem to be American with ingredients like 'butterscotch chips' which you can't really find in Sainsburys or Waitrose. Or the recipes need homemade caramel which I didn't really fancy making with all the hassle of a sugar thermometer and risk of getting scalded etc. So in the end I came up with a recipe that I could find ingredients for, including dulche de leche from waitrose and added it to normal buttercream (although it was a tiny bit too sweet) and made a traditional sticky toffee sponge with dates. As much as I love conventional cupcakes from chocolate or vanilla, these were definitely something special and I'd recommend making them. They also kept really well and were still delicious a good few days later!

The toffee cupcakes are the caramel looking ones. I also made some chocolate ones too.
Recipe - Adapted from Fiona Carins on the Good Food channel.
For the sponge -
180g dates, pitted and chopped
1tsp vanilla extract
180g self-raising flour
1tsp bicarb of soda
80g unsalted butter
150g muscovado sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the buttercream-
A good couple of tablespoons of dulche de leche (You can get the post version in the nice glass jar like I did, or just get the carnation tins - they taste almost exactly the same!)
- sorry not sure on quantities for these, just use a good buttercream recipe, I think I used the hummingbird bakery but took a good part of the sugar out as the dulche de leche is soo sweet and the icing can be too sickly otherwise!

1. Preheat oven to 180c
2. Place paper cases into 12 hole cupcake tin
3.In a bowl, pour 180ml boiling water over the dates and leave to soak for 20minutes. With a fork, break up the dates and stir in the vanilla.
4. Sift the flour and bicarb of soda into another bowl and set aside.
5. Then cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5mins). Add the eggs gradually, beating well between each addition and slipping in 1tbsp flour halfway to prevent curdling. 
6. Then fold in the remaining flour and date mixture.
7. Spoon into cupcake cases and bake for 15-20mins. (Until the tops spring back, you know the drill with cakes)
For the toffee buttercream - 
Make a traditional buttercream (for 12 cakes), but leave out some of the sugar like I said earlier, then beat in a couple of tablespoons of the dulche de leche. Add more to taste if you need to, the colour should be a lovely light brown caramel. 
Pipe/Ice over the cakes and decorate!
Waiting to be displayed and eaten!

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