We first tried this cupcake at the Magnolia Square Market and it was such a taste sensation that we had to go back for another one. Of course, then I had to get my mitts on Jennifer Graham's recipe from The Crabapple Bakery Cookbook (thanks largely to elmo's impulsiveness - I'm too much of an um-er and and ah-er /do-I-need-it? do-I_really_need-it? type).
Fortunately, a home made batch doesn't disappoint (objective opinions also garnered ;p ). This delicious cake has a lovely texture and is perfectly combined with the sharp sweetness of the caramel frosting; your tastebuds will thank you!
Another lovely thing about Graham's recipes is that the ingredients are listed in the order to be used - it made a world of difference. And there are tips for best ingredients and how to decorate, which is often the most time consuming part! If Graham takes this much care in presenting the details of her recipes, I'm guessing that the other creations in her book will be just as rewarding as this 'eat dessert first' cake.
As promised, here's the recipe below - comments in square brackets are my additions. Love to hear how you go and what you think!
=sticky date cakes=
makes >> 26 cupcakes
keeps >> 4 days
frozen >> 2 months
450g dates, pitted and diced
2 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon mixed spice
120g softened butter [I like to use salted butter to cut through the sweetness]
1 1/3 cups castor sugar
Put dates and water into a heavy based saucepan. Bring to the boil over a medium to high heat, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and add ginger and bicarbonate of soda. Stir well until combined.Let mixture cool to room temperature.
This mixture is best made the day before to allow the dates to absorb more of the water.[As I diced up the dates, I placed them in the saucepan with the water already measured out to start them absorbing the water - this seemed to work fine]
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line three 12-hole muffin trays with 26 cupcake cases [this number may vary depending on the size of the paper cases].
Sift together self-raising flour, ground cloves and mixed spice.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add half the castor sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add remaining castor sugar and beat for 2 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved.
Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture until well combined [this will seem harder than your regular cupcake mixture at this point - but don't fret!]. Fold in the cooled date mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into cupcake cases, filling to three-quarters full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a fine skewer comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.
=real caramel frosting=
makes >> 4 cups frosting - enough for 24 cupcakes
keeps >> 1 week
2/3 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup cream
8 cups sifted icing sugar
Combine the butter, sugar, golden syrup and cream in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally with wooden spoon until sugar has dissolved. Turn up heat to high and boil for at least 5 minutes. Take off heat and cool to room temperature.
Add half of the sifted icing sugar to the cooled caramel mixture and use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and of a spreadable consistency.
Add extra cream if the mixture is too dry or extra icing sugar if the mixture is too wet.This can be used immediately.