Sticky Toffee Cupcakes
For the sponge
180g pitted and chopped dates
180ml boiling water
80g Lewis Road Unsalted Butter
150g soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs
180g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
For the frosting
160g Lewis Road Creamery Unsalted Butter, softened
500g icing sugar
50ml Lewis Road Creamery Whole Milk
100g tinned caramel or dulce de leche
12-16 dates, pitted and chopped, or small pieces of soft toffee, to decorate (optional)
Place the chopped dates in a bowl, pour over the boiling water and leave to soak for approximately 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°c, gas mark 5, and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy. Break the eggs in one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing well on a medium-to-high and continue mixing until the batter is smooth and even.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add these dry ingredients in three batches to the egg and butter mix, then adjust the speed to a medium-to-high and continue mixing until the batter is smooth and even.
Scrape around the sides and bottom of the bowl to pick up any ingredients that might not be mixed in, then beat again briefly to ensure everything is well incorporated. Next add the vanilla essence to the date mixture and mix this into the cake batter by hand, making sure the dates are evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
Fill each paper case up to two-thirds full with the batter. Any remaining batter can be used ti fill one to four more cases in a second muffin tin. Bake in the over for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch. Leave too cool slightly before removing the time and placing on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and icing sugar on a low speed until sandy in texture and no large lumps of butter remain.
Still mixing on a low speed, gradually add the milk and mix in well, then increase the speed to medium-to-high and beat until light and fluffy. Finally, add the tinned caramel, beating it in thoroughly to ensure the frosting is evenly mixed.
Spoon generous amounts of the frosting on to each cupcake, then gently smooth over with a palette knife, making a swirl at the top, if you wish. To finish, scatter over the chopped dates or toffee pieces (if using).