Sunday, September 16, 2007

Date Cupcake With Caramel Frosting

After I read JFox's post on the Date Cupcakes that she first bought at market and then made, I had decided immediately to make it.

I thought the cupcake would be really sweet using so much dates, but it turned out not to be at all. The process of boiling the dates removed the sweetness, as well as using very little sugar.

For the recipe, please go and see JFox's post. I'll just make a few notes of things that I would watch out for.

* I thought the amount of ginger sounded too much and was tempted to reduce it. Luckily I didn't as the amount stated gave it a nice tang.

* I would reduce the amount of cloves in future. I found the cloves flavour a little bit too strong. It may have been due to me using whole gloves and then grounding it, giving a stronger flavour than pre-grounded cloves.

* I found the caramel frosting a lot of work. You have to boil everything and then wait till it cools before adding in the sugar. I didn't wait till it cooled enough I think and added the sugar, meaning the sugar melted and it got all runny. It was also a lot of mess to try and pipe the frosting. I might skip this part next time as it tasted great without it and was actually preferred that way by all my work mates and myself.

Apart from that, the cupcake is really good. It is moist and has so many intricate flavours which everyone couldn't work out. They were all going, I know this flavour but can't quite put my finger on it.

EDIT: I've decided to post the recipe in case other people's blogs go down but mainly so its all easier to find when I want to make this recipe again myself.

Date Cupcakes With Caramel Frosting

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
1 1/3 cups castor sugar
4 eggs

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.

Caramel Frosting

100g butter
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.

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