Sticky toffee cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream recipe

(1265 ratings)

Sticky toffee cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream
  • healthy
Preparation Time35 mins (including soaking and icing)
Cooking Time20 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories442 Kcal22%
Sugar49.4 g55%
Fat20.9 g30%
Saturated Fat12.8 g64%
Salt1.25 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein3.2 g6%
Carbohydrates61.0 g23%
Salt1.25 gRow 7 - Cell 2

A soft sponge, light buttercream, and homemade salted caramel drizzle make these sticky toffee cupcakes irresistible. 

Make the cupcake sponge with dates and light muscovado sugar with a hint of vanilla extract - the dates, in particular, add a sticky element to the sponges. Top with a lightly whipped buttercream and drizzled with homemade salted caramel. Make the salted caramel using just four ingredients; sugar, cream, salt, and vanilla. This recipe includes two methods for making caramel.


  • 12 cupcake cases
  • 180g dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten


  • 160g salted butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • nylon piping bag (optional)
  • medium or large star nozzle (optional)

If you want to make your own caramel

  • 125g white caster sugar
  • 80ml double cream
  • 1/ 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Dulce de leche method

  • 3–4 tbsp dulce de leche
  • 1/ 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract




  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 170ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Place the paper cases into a cupcake tin. In a heatproof bowl, pour 180ml boiling water over the dates and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Then, with a fork, gently break up the dates and stir in the vanilla.
  2. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar for a good 5 minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating between each addition and slipping in 1 tbsp flour about halfway through to prevent curdling. Lastly, fold in the remaining flour and then the date mixture. Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 15–20 minutes (the tops should spring back when pressed with a finger). Remove and leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. To make the caramel, dissolve the sugar and 60ml water in a small, solid-based pan over a gentle heat, then increase the heat to a boil. Wait a few minutes, leaving the pan undisturbed but watching it like a hawk and, as soon as it changes to a wonderful caramel colour (like strong tea) and is thicker, remove immediately from the heat, stand well back, and add the cream. Be very careful as it is searing hot and it may splatter a little. It will react, or ‘seize’, and you may think it has gone wrong; it hasn’t. Keep stirring, adding the salt and the vanilla. Leave until stone cold.
  4. If using dulce de leche, simply mix it with the salt and vanilla.
  5. Cream the butter and icing sugar for at least 5 minutes in an electric mixer (or use a handheld mixer) and add the caramel or the dulce de leche. Put the buttercream into the piping bag fitted with the star nozzle and pipe it on to the cakes, or spread it on with a palette knife.

Top tips for making sticky toffee cupcakes

If you prefer an unsalted caramel buttercream, omit the salt and use unsalted butter.

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Jessica Dady
Food Editor

Jessica Dady is Food Editor at and has over 10 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to kitchen appliances, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends some of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family including her two lucky children.