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sticky date cupcakes

A year and a half ago, when we moved to Canberra I made these as my first ever cupcakes and took them to a house party. Half of me did it to make friends, but the other semi-competitive part of me wanted to cement my reputation as the baker in the group. It wasn’t long before people started referring to me as Cupcake Girl – kind of like a food-possessed power ranger.

These have been the most popular use of my cupcake powers by a mile. Not even the peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes beat these ones. I think there’s a little kid inside all of us that these speak to when there’s caramel sauce dripping from your fingers. 

For those times when you need to impress, whether it’s high tea or an indulgent dessert – these are just the thing.

They’re very easy, and suit even novice bakers. Don’t be alarmed if your cupcakes look lighter than those in the picture – when you brush them with the caramel sauce, they turn that decadent dark brown colour.

Sticky Date Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

for the cupcakes
200g dates, pitted
1 teaspoon baking soda
125ml boiling water
125g butter
125g brown sugar
2 eggs
125g self-raising flour

for the caramel sauce
100g dark brown sugar
125ml cream
25g butter
dash of vanilla essence

for the caramel icing
125g cream cheese, at room temperature
180ml cream
3 tbsp icing sugar
3 tbsp sauce (above)

  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. Place the dates in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. You could cut them up by hand, but it might take a while (and is a pain because they’re so sticky).
  3. Put the chopped dates in a bowl with the baking soda. Pour over the boiling water, stir and let stand for 5 minutes.

  4. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, then the date mixture.
  5. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners, then fill to 2/3 full using an ice cream scoop – this helps ensure that there is an even amount in each liner. In my experience, this batter divides evenly between 12 liners. These rise a lot, so don’t overfill, or you’ll end up with a overflowing mess – I often bake a test cupcake on it’s own when I’m using a new recipe.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through – test with a skewer to check if cooked.
  7. While the cupcakes are cooking, sauce by melting all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. 
  8. When the cupcakes are done, remove from the oven and poke about seven holes in each using a chopstick. Pour a tablespoon of sauce over each cupcakes, making sure to use a brush to coat the top of the whole cupcake.

  9. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the icing. In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese until smooth and there are no visible lumps. Switch to the whisk attachment and add the cream, sugar and caramel sauce and whisk to stiff peaks. 
  10. When cupcakes are cool, pipe the icing onto the cupcakes using a 1M icing tip, then drizzle with the leftover caramel sauce.