Sticky toffee cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream

(125 ratings)
Video player
  • Makes: 12

  • Prep time:

    (including soaking and icing)
  • Cooking time:

  • Costs: Mid-price

  • Skill level: Bit of effort

Everybody's favourite pudding is brought bang up-to-date as a cupcake. This recipe has 2 alternative toppings: either make your own caramel or use a jar of dulce de leche, the choice is yours.

If you prefer an unsalted caramel buttercream, omit the salt and use unsalted butter.


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


  • 160g salted butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • nylon piping bag (optional)
  • medium or large star nozzle (optional)

If you want to make your own caramel

  • 125g white caster sugar
  • 80ml double cream
  • 1/ 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Dulce de leche method

  • 3–4 tbsp dulce de leche
  • 1/ 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 170ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Place the paper cases into a cupcake tin. In a heatproof bowl, pour 180ml boiling water over the dates and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Then, with a fork, gently break up the dates and stir in the vanilla.
  2. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar for a good 5 minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating between each addition and slipping in 1 tbsp flour about halfway 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.
  3. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. To make the caramel, dissolve the sugar and 60ml water in a small, solid-based pan 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.
  4. If using dulce de leche, simply mix it with the salt and vanilla.
  5. Cream the butter and icing sugar for at least 5 minutes in an electric mixer (or use a handheld mixer) and add the caramel or the dulce 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.
Recipe taken from BAKE & DECORATE by FIONA CAIRNS, published by Quadrille (£12.99, paperback) Photography © LAURA HYND

Nutritional information

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

Your rating

Average rating

  • 3
(125 ratings)

Your comments

Andrea Sargent

Very tasty needs a few improvements: Don't use as much butter for the buttercream i used approx 100g and a drop of milk to loosen it. I would say makes 14 not 12 for the cake mixture too.


hey babe


teenage i made these with my boyfriend and after i made them he said it was just as nice as my kis and started kissing me for an hour


I made these last week but pureed the dates in processor as my husband doesn't like dates ;-) He ate it n said it was lovely n now 1 of his favourites x


Will be the lack of dates, I hate dates (the texture and that taste) but love sticky toffee pudding. You can't taste or notice them when they're cooked in a cake like this, I never even realised that sticky toffee pudding had dates in until I made one for the first time a few years ago!


I made these last night and they have gone down a treat. I thought they would be too heavy with buttercream so I just made the caramel, pierced holes in the cakes when they came out the oven - like with lemon drizzle cake and poured the caramel in. So tasty!

Michelle Crompton

I work in the kitchen at a college,I have made these quite a few times and cant keep up with the demand for them! Brilliant recipe,at taste divine!

Keira Campbell

These cupcakes are very tasty. I left out the dates, as neither my husband or I like them. I found the cake part slightly dry (possible due to lack of dates) but my husband and friends said they were fine (I am overly critical of my own baking). I also left the salt out of the caramel for the buttercream. I made my own caramel, you really do have to keep a close eye on it as it changes SO quickly!I made extra caramel and drizzled it on the top.


Caramel and sticky toffee pudding, my two favourite things in the world. Shall defiantely be trying out this receipe. Perfect little treat after a long day baking, mmm yummy x

comments powered by Disqus

FREE Newsletter