Recipe: Steph’s Sticky Date Pudding Cupcakes with Caramel Sauce

This is a guest post from Steph, a friend of mine from work.  She brought a huge batch of these cupcakes (and more importantly, their sauce) in for her birthday a few weeks ago, and we devoured them in record time and begged for the recipe.  I haven’t yet made them myself (an oversight, clearly), mostly because you get a *lot* of cupcakes from this recipe (about three dozen), and I haven’t had the freezer space.  But I will, oh yes, I will…

Steph says: “Hope this reads well. I am so used to doing this recipe that I might have left out something very obvious. The caramel sauce looks scary, but once you have got the hang of caramelising sugar (be brave!!) it is such an easy recipe!! And so freakin’ good!!”

In passing, apologies for the distinct lack of blogging over the last few days.  I’ve been rather under the weather, and while I did cook a couple of things with the intention of blogging about them, they were both failures, and not even the sort of entertaining failures that make for good posts.  We will return you to our regularly scheduled food blogging in a day or two.

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Cupcakes (makes about 36)
280g chopped dates
375ml hot water
¾ tsp bicarb soda
200g butter (at room temp)
280g caster sugar
1  tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs (at room temp)
280g Self raising flour
Caramel Sauce
350g caster sugar
350g caster sugar to caramelise
350g butter
600ml cream

NB – this quantity of sauce makes 1.5L which is huge and enough for several batches of cupcakes. You can always divide the mixture by one or two to make a smaller batch.  NB from Catherine – I say make it all!  You can never have too much caramel sauce on your pudding.  Or near your pudding.  Or over the ice-cream, with or without pudding.  Or you could just eat it with a spoon directly from the pot…

Now what will you do with it?

For the cupcakes, bring first three ingredients to boil in saucepan, simmer on low for 2 mins and cool to room temperature (if you don’t cool it, the mixture will melt the butter in the next step when added).

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla essence. Add 1 egg at a time, mixing between additions.  Add sifted flour and mix.  Add date mixture and mix well.

Spoon mixture into muffin tins lined with patty cake papers. Cook for about 10- 15 mins @ 180°C. I must admit, I don’t really know the timing, I just watch them. Don’t overcook them, it’s better for the mixture to still be moist when you put a skewer in them.  Err on the side of underdone for these pudding cupcakes.

For the sauce, in a medium saucepan (not a non-stick one if you can help it, you won’t be able to check the colour of the caramel in a dark pan) put 350g caster sugar and mix with enough water to become just wet and runny. Using a wet pastry brush, wipe the sides of the pan until all sugar crystals are gone.

Put the pot over high heat and allow sugar to caramelise and turn a golden colour. Don’t stir with a spoon. As it gets closer to changing colour swirl the pan around to mix the colour. Be aware that once it starts changing colour, it will go from pale yellow to burnt quite fast, so watch it like a hawk at this point – CM.

In a big pot (like one for cooking pasta) (Incidentally, I hope you know that pasta needs a lot of boiling water if you don’t want it to stick together?  Use a stockpot if you have one, both for pasta and for this.  You really, really do not want boiling sugar erupting out of the pot at you) place 350g caster sugar, butter and cream and gently bring to the boil.

Add caramelised sugar to boiling butter/cream/sugar mixture and stir quickly off the heat. Mixture will boil up and spit so ensure you have chosen a big pot!! It’s really really hard to get this off the stove if it overflows, trust me!  Mix well.

Serve cupcakes with sauce and double or pure cream! Then go run 5 kms, that should do it.

Thanks so much to Steph for this recipe.  I’ll have a play with it sometime and see if I can post some allergy / vegan friendly variations, but believe me, it’s quite perfect as it is.  The cupcakes do freeze well, and could be microwaved straight from the freezer.  The sauce can sit in the fridge for a week or two, and probably longer, assuming you don’t take to it with a spoon and eat the whole lot in the first few days…

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8 comments for “Recipe: Steph’s Sticky Date Pudding Cupcakes with Caramel Sauce

  1. Steph
    September 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I have to admit to eating copious amounts of the sauce straight from the fridge with a spoon – it’s goopy sweet heaven!!!

    • September 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      I can imagine! I really need to make this one soon.

  2. September 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    is there any reason I can’t use margarine or
    oil instead of the butter?
    oil instead of the butter?

    • September 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm

      Margarine is definitely fine to replace butter in the cupcakes themselves. Oil would require some re-jigging of the recipe, because of the extra liquid, but would be do-able, I think. Just add a bit more flour. Given the amount of butter in the recipe, though, I wouldn’t want to replace it *all* with oil. Part oil and part mashed banana, or apple sauce, or even margarine might work.

      As for the caramel sauce… I’ve made vegan upside down cakes with Nuttelex and brown sugar for the caramel, and they worked OK. I’m less sure about doing it this way, because you’re caramelising the sugar first which I think will mean that you are adding it to the butter or nuttelex at a much higher temperature, so if Nuttelex *can* separate, this might be a circumstance in which it did. I wouldn’t know where to start making caramel sauce using oil, and I really wouldn’t want to try it in any case!

  3. 5-tails
    September 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Ooh. I shall have to find other people who like sticky date pudding (unlike the cat-thing), and try this one…

    • September 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      You really shall – it’s lovely!

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