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Sticky toffee pudding cupcakes

03 November 2015

Baking Queen Fiona Cairns shares her recipe for a cupcake version of a sticky toffee pudding with a salted caramel buttercream topping.

Sticky toffee cupcakes
These sticky toffee cupcakes are ideal for little hands to get stuck in

Cooking time

15-20 minutes




For the cupcakes  

  • 180g dates, pitted and chopped 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 180g 
  • 180g Homepride self-raising flour 
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened 
  • 150g light muscovado sugar 
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten 

For the buttercream - caramel method 

  • 125g white caster sugar 
  • 80ml double cream 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Or for the dulce de leche method 

  • 3 or 4 tbsp dulche de leche 
  • ½ tsp sale 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • Plus: 160g salted butter, softened 
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted 
  • Special equipment: 
  • 12 cupcake cases 
  • Nylon piping bag (optional) 
  • Medium or large star nozzle (optional)


Everybody’s favourite pudding is brought bang up to date as a cupcake with salted caramel buttercream. There are two alternative toppings: the first involves making a caramel, the second, simply opening a jar of dulche de leche. The choice is yours, though the former will give a pleasing bitter edge. If you prefer an unsalted caramel buttercream, omit the salt and use unsalted butter.

Preheat the oven to 180C / fan 170C / 350F / gas mark 4.

Place the paper cupcake cases into a cupcake tin.

In a heatproof bowl, pour 180ml boiling water over the dates and leave them to soak for 20 minutes. Then with a fork gently break up the dates and stir in the vanilla extract.

Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar for a good five minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating between each addition and slipping in 1 tbsp flour about half way through to prevent curdling. Lastly, fold in the remaining flour and then the date mixture.

Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 15 – 20 minutes (the tops should spring back when pressed with a finger). Remove and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, make the buttercream. To make the caramel, dissolve the sugar and 60ml water in a small, solid-based ban over a gentle heat, then increase the heat to a boil. Wait a few minutes, leaving the pan undisturbed but watching it like a hawk and, as soon as it changes to a wonderful caramel colour (like strong tea) and is thicker, remove immediately from the heat, stand well back, and add the cream. Be very careful as it is searing hot and it may splatter a little. It will react, or ‘seize’, and you may think it has gone wrong; it hasn’t. Keep stirring, adding the salt and the vanilla. Leave until stone cold.

If using dulche de leche, simply mix it with the salt and vanilla.

Cream the butter and icing sugar for at least five minutes in an electric mixer (or use a handheld mixer) and add the caramel or the dulche de leche. Put the buttercream into the piping bag fitted with the star nozzle and pipe it on to the cakes, or spread it on with a palette knife.

Our thanks to Wallace and Gromit's Big Bake for this recipe.

Visit our Baking with Kids section for more fun baking ideas


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.