Before making this recipe, my sister decided she wanted to make it herself. I asked her if she would write a guest post and she accepted! Below is my sister Marilyn’s guest post! Enjoy!
Currently, Lucy is the resident baker at our apartment but there used to be a time where I was the baker. I could make brownies at the drop of a hat and I knew that recipe by heart, too (not anymore; something else has taken its place). Nowadays, she makes everything and if I’m craving anything in particular, I just ask her. Unless they’re plain blondies. She doesn’t really like making them for me without a million other ingredients (i.e. the “everything but the kitchen sink ” blondies she made a while ago) but sometimes I just need that brown sugary goodness without any extra fluff.
Anyway, this time I decided to try my hand at baking again and because I tend to live dangerously (not really), I decided to make sticky toffee pudding cupcakes with a caramel sauce. You can blame the recipe I found in an old issue of Runner’s World.
The cupcakes looked delicious and I was totally game to try their recipe until I read it completely (rookie mistake!) and saw I needed pastry flour. Normally, I wouldn’t mind buying the special flour but when you’re trying to save money (and space), it’s better to use what you have. So off I went to look for a more accommodating recipe.
After a little research, I found this cake recipe from King Arthur Flour. Now, this recipe also includes the caramel sauce but if you have any dietary restrictions like me (I’m lactose intolerant), then you have to go on the search for alternatives. I found a recipe for a vegan caramel sauce that used coconut milk instead of regular cream and it’s adaptable enough that if you want to add butter, you totally could (personally anything that doesn’t contain much dairy, is a godsend for me. And Lucy. I’ll leave the reason why, to her).
This recipe used only figs but I had some dates hanging around so I decided to use both. I used small to medium sized dried figs and chopped about eight to nine of them to get half a cup and for the dates, which were roughly the same size as the figs, I chopped up about seven to eight. Their size totally depends on your haul of the dried fruit, just aim for half a cup of each if you decide to do it like I did. The recipe also suggests their brand of cake flour (duh) but I had another kind lying around and the cakes came out pretty awesome anyway.
After chopping up the dates and figs, I put them in boiling water and let them sit for about 15 minutes while I got everything else ready. The recipe uses custard cups or ramekins as the baking receptacles and it yields about six, but I used a cupcake pan instead and got nine cupcakes using a ¼ cup sized ice cream scoop to portion them out.
If you plan on trying this vegan caramel recipe, be warned that while it reduces, it will pop and bubble all over the pot. It can be a little scary and you’ll want to stir it while it reduces to control the sputtering but trust me, just let it do its thing for twenty minutes (no matter how scary). Once time is up, you can stir and it will turn from a bubbly looking mess to a smooth caramel sauce. I only made half of the recipe since Lucy and I are the only ones that were going to eat it, and it was enough for all nine cupcakes.
The cakes were delicious. They were perfectly moist and spongy. You could taste a little bitterness from the molasses but the figs were definitely front and center. The sauce was sticky and delicious. Personally, I found them delicious both separate and together but Lucy found them a little too sweet with the caramel sauce, and thought the coconut was a little overpowering (whatever, Kyle).
For this first foray into baking after such a long hiatus, it was fun. BUT! I spent a good chunk of time freaking out while making this recipe because Lucy was watching me the entire time. She had me all frazzled and running all over the place because she took it upon herself to question my every move, and quizzed me on the recipe (I had no idea baking had an oral exam portion). It was a miracle you couldn’t taste my nerves and fears in them.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Cupcakes – adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes six small puddings, or nine standard cupcakes
- 1/2 cup dried mission figs, chopped; about 8-9 figs
- 1/2 cup dried dates, chopped; about 7-8 dates
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- ¼ cup soft butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons dark molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup cake flour, sifted before measuring
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter six ¾-cup silicone baking cups, oven-safe custard cups, or line nine wells of a muffin pan. Combine the figs, dates and boiling water and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- After the 15 minutes, puree the figs, dates and boiling water until smooth. Set aside.
- For the batter, beat the 1/4 cup butter, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder until fluffy.
- Add in the egg, then the molasses and vanilla. Slowly incorporate the flour, taking care not to overmix.
- Add in the puree and baking soda, and stir into the batter.
- Pour into the prepared baking cups or lined muffin pan. If using molds, place them on a baking sheet.
- Bake the cakes for 18 to 22 minutes, until a cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Remove from the oven, and cool in the molds or cups.
Coconut Caramel Sauce – adapted from A Full Measure of Happiness
Makes about 1 cup of sauce
- about 1/2 a can of full fat coconut milk (from a 14 oz can)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon butter (optional, for vegans and those with special tummies like me!)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the coconut milk, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring this mixture to a boil, and let it cook until thickened and bubbly; about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let stand one minute. Add in the butter (if using) and vanilla extract, and stir. Use immediately or store the cooled sauce in a jar or airtight container in the fridge.
- Make sure your dried fruit is completely soft to make pureeing easy.