Sticky Toffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Oh – such yummy goodness in such sweet little portions…
This recipe makes 12 large (or 48 mini cupcakes for 1 and a half quantities – using a full pack of dates!)

Sticky Toffee Cupcakes
180g chopped Dried Dates (fresh or semi dried don’t work so well)
180 ml boiling water
150g demerara sugar
80g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
180g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Weigh out the chopped dried dates in a heatproof bowl, and cover with 180ml boiling water. (I weigh the water carefully to avoid flooding it! Too much liquid in this mix will make all the dates sink to the bottom of the cakes. Not a disaster, but not ideal.)
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until paler. (You can use a stand mixer, a hand mixer or a wooden spoon, depending on how energetic you feel!)
3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.
4. Now add the date mixture. It will be VERY runny.
5. Mix in the flour and bicarb until the mix is like a medium batter.
6. Spoon into cupcake cases (about 2/3rds full, but the mix should even out over a dozen, so go easy on the first few – you can top them up at the end which is easier than trying to take some mixture out!)
7. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes (or 12 minutes for minis).
8. Cool on rack.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

200g dark brown sugar
4 tbs cornflour
200ml milk
1 tbs sea salt
200g very soft butter

1. In a small saucepan mix the sugar and cornflour together.
2. Slowly stir in the milk (from a stiff paste to a liquid to make sure there are no lumps!)
3. Bring to the boil and stir (like you were making a custard) for 2 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to cool.
4. When cold, put the caramel mix and the sea salt in a bowl then (again, stand mixer, hand mixer or wooden spoon is up to you) beat until paler and air is incorporated.
5. While it’s beating, add the very soft butter about a teaspoon at a time. Once it’s incorporating well you can add about a tablespoon at a time. It sounds fiddly, but isn’t really, and gives a most marvellously smooth texture.
6. Pipe, spoon or smooth onto cooled cupcakes. (You can decorate with a piece or two of chopped date, or a sprinkle of gold dust which is my favourite!)

This is based on a Fiona Cairns recipe which can be found here.

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