Last time my husband went away on business I did the shopping all by myself - never a good idea. That week the internet grocery shopping delivery consisted of bell peppers, padron peppers, roquito peppers, a jar of caramel and not much else. So I've had this caramel in the fridge for a while now and other than using as an amazing ice cream topping I haven't know what to do with it - until now!
When it comes to cupcakes I usually make a classic vanilla flavour, but my good friend Sarah is always more adventurous and I'm invariably impressed with the recipes she chooses from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book. Hummingbird is absolutely my favourite bakery. Their cupcakes are always the lightest. I wanted to bake some cupcakes to take to a birthday party and choose these Sticky Toffee Cupcakes from the Cake Days book.
The sponge is flavoured with soft brown sugar and chopped dates that have been soaked and softened in boiling water. I went a bit off-piste with the icing and didn't follow the recipe as I already had some basic butter cream left over in the fridge from a previous cake. Essentially I just added a couple of enormous spoonfuls of the caramel and a little maldon salt to the plain butter cream to make a ridiculously tasty salted caramel butter cream. I quickly whizzed up some toffees in the blender and sprinkled the toffee dust over the top of the icing.
I've never really got the hang of impressive looking butter icing. It's just too soft a medium for me to have any control over. I do like the look of these - very homemade looking - but I don't think Hummingbird are going to invite me to join their team any time soon!
I still had plenty of the icing left over so today I decided to whip up another batch of the cake batter and use it to make this loaf - a loaf is so much easier to transport than cupcakes. This time I added a teaspoon of ground mixed spice to the batter hoping to give it a deeper, more autumnal flavour.