Thursday, 30 October 2014

sticky toffee pudding cupcakes

I recently had a request for some sticky toffee pudding cupcakes, so got to work experimenting to see if I could make a cupcake that was as enjoyable as the dessert. I was hopeful that I could make a delicious cupcake, using toffee sauce as the filling of the cupcake. What I found was that once the toffee sauce had cooled, it tasted far sweeter than it did as a hot sauce when poured over the pudding. So, I made a caramel sauce instead of toffee, and this worked perfectly. The cupcakes were topped with cream cheese frosting, with some of the caramel added to create a more cohesive caramel flavour throughout the cake.

For many years, I didn't even consider attempting to make caramel, as boiling sugar just seemed too
fickle for me - it seemed to be very easy to burn, or turn into rock hard toffee, that I just didn't bother with it. That all changed recently when I came across Top With Cinnamon's recipe for salted caramel. In the last few months, I have made this recipe many, many times, and it has worked beautifully on every occasion. The flavour and consistency are beautiful. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of honey, and this seems to add something subtle, yet wonderful to the flavour. What's even better is that you don't need a sugar thermometer to make this work, which was yet another factor which had previously put me off making caramel.

To make things simple, rather than re-writing the recipes that I used, I will just share the links to them, and add detail where necessary.

1) Sticky Toffee Cupcake recipe
I used light brown sugar instead of muscovado, as this is what I had, and knew it would still give a gentle caramel flavour.

2) For the caramel:
I made 1.5 x the quantity that Izy states in her recipe here and this was enough to fill 10 cupcakes, flavour the frosting, and drizzle some on top. On this occasion, I didn't want salty caramel, so I just left that out. (Plus a little extra to eat with ice cream!)

3) For the frosting:
300g icing sugar, sieved
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
125g Philadelphia (full fat cream cheese)
A couple of dessertspoons of caramel

+ Beat together the icing sugar and butter until there are no obvious lumps of butter.
+ Add in the cream cheese and beat / mix until you reach the desired consistency
+ Add a few dessertspoons of caramel to taste. If you're planning on piping the frosting, don't add more than a few dollops of caramel, otherwise the frosting won't be able to hold it's shape.

Baking Notes:
+ I used a cupcake corer to remove a piece of cake to make room for filling the cupcakes with caramel. You can use a knife to achieve this too!
+ To drizzle the caramel in neat lines on top of the frosting, I made a miniature piping bag out of baking paper (cut a triangle, fold into a cone, then fold over the top). 

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