A deliciously easy twist on a classic favourite!
Take this classic dessert to a whole new level by adding your favourite cream liqueur – I used Amarula – to both the cupcakes and the sauce for a delicious flavour boost. Baking individual-sized portions makes for a pretty presentation and also enables you to make ahead, freeze, and thaw the appropriate number of portions with ease. The sauce can be frozen as well, or kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- 1 cup (120 g) chopped pitted dates
- 2/3 cup (160 mL) water
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.4 g) baking soda
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) cream liqueur (or water)
- 1/4 cup (56 g) softened butter
- 2/3 cups (135 g) brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon (10 mL) vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon (.7 g) each powdered ginger and cinnamon
- 1 1/3 cups (270 g) packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (170 g) butter, cut in four pieces
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cream liqueur (or whipping cream)
Whipped cream or ice cream, to serve
- Start by making the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F and line 12 compartments of a muffin pan with paper liners.
- In a small saucepan, bring dates and water to a boil. Cover and remove from heat; let sit 5 minutes. Stir in baking soda (mixture will bubble up), then stir in cream liqueur. Let cool to room temperature. Using an immersion blender (or transfer mixture to a regular blender), purée until smooth. Set aside.
- In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beater after each addition. Stir in vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients into butter mixture in two parts, alternating with date purée. Stir until smooth.
- Divide batter among 12 prepared muffin tin compartments. Bake until tester comes out clean, about 18- 20 minutes. If not serving immediately, remove from pan and let cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze. Though premade cupcakes can be enjoyed at room temperature, if you prefer you can also reheat them in 300F oven, wrapped in foil or in a covered casserole dish, until warm.
- While cakes are baking, prepare toffee sauce. In a small saucepan, heat together brown sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir in cream. Bring to simmer; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream liqueur and keep warm until ready to serve. If making ahead of time, transfer to a heatproof jar or jug and refrigerate then re-warm before serving.
- Place warm or room temperature cakes on serving plates. With a serrated knife, cut each one into several slices then drizzle about 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the sauce over top. Add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream and serve.