[Recipe 2] LITTLE LUMBERJACK CUPCAKES
We’ve survived the first week of school holidays relatively unscathed. Gawd, the weather has been revolting, so there has been a lot of crafting and indoor fun and games; including Lego, Lego and Lego. Oh, and fort-making – my 5-year old received the most beautiful hand-made fort kit for his birthday last weekend (thanks Lauren)! We also saw Brave (loved it) and the boys (and me, just secretly) were riveted by episodes of Lassie on DVD. Did I mention we also played with Lego?
Winter brings out the baker in me, and warm desserts feature heavily on our menu. A good old Sticky date pudding is one of our favourite Sunday night desserts. We especially love ours topped with toasted hazelnuts. The bonus with this recipe is that you’ll also end up with a batch of yummo coconut-topped Little lumberjack cupcakes. They freeze well and are perfect for school and work lunchboxes. We scoffed the pudding in one sitting recently, and relinquished the batch of cupcakes to our school cake sale – they’re perfect for a baked goods stall as they remain lovely and moist for a couple of days.
Like my Banana honey cake, these two recipes are a little different to the usual 1=2 meals as they can be cooked together. If you can’t fit the pudding and cupcakes side by side in your oven though, place the cupcakes on the middle shelf, and the pudding below. When you remove the cupcakes after 20–25 minutes, move the pudding up a shelf and continue baking. If your oven is not good at sharing though, you can bake the pudding first while you prepare the cupcakes.
[Recipe 1] Sticky date pudding with toasted hazelnuts
Ingredients (makes pudding to serve 6, plus 12 cupcakes):
400g (14 oz) pitted dates, chopped
1 cup (250ml) boiling water
125 grams (4 oz/1 stick) butter, softened
1¼ cups firmly packed (250g) brown sugar
350g (2⅓ cups) self-raising (self-rising) flour
100g (3½ oz) hazelnuts, roasted and skinned, roughly chopped, to serve
Sticky toffee sauce:
¾ cup firmly packed (150g) brown sugar, extra
150ml (5 fl oz) cream (I use light cooking cream)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon (15g/½ oz) butter, extra
Soak dates in boiling water for at least 30 minutes, pushing them down well so they soak up all the water.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well before adding the next. Fold in flour until well incorporated, then stir in the soaked dates.
♦ Reserve half the batter (3 cups/ 750g) for the little lumberjack cupcakes.
Spoon remaining mixture into a lined 20cm (8-inch) square cake tin.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
The Little lumberjack cupcakes can be cooked at the same time (see recipe 2).
Meanwhile, make the sticky toffee sauce. Place additional brown sugar, cream, vanilla and butter in a small heavy-based saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring, until sauce comes to the boil. Remove from heat.
Cut pudding into chunky squares to serve, scattered with toasted hazelnuts. Pour warm sticky toffee sauce over each and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.
- The pudding, sauce and toasted hazelnuts will keep for 3 days in airtight containers in the fridge. They also freeze really well in separate containers, for up to 3 months. Warm the pudding and sauce, covered, in the microwave before serving.
[Recipe 2] Little lumberjack cupcakes
♦ 3 cups (750g) reserved sticky date pudding batter [see recipe 1]
1 green apple, peeled and grated
½ cup (45g) shredded coconut
Extra shredded coconut for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
♦ Put reserved sticky date pudding batter into a large bowl.
Fold in apple and coconut.
Divide mixture among 12 lined muffin pans. Use waxed muffin cases; or for a café look, line the holes with hand-cut squares of baking paper. Sprinkle with extra shredded coconut.
Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of a cupcake.
The cupcakes can be cooked at the same time as the sticky date pudding (see recipe 1), side by side. Simply remove the cupcakes from the oven after 20–25 minutes (as quickly as possible so the oven doesn’t lose too much heat); and continue cooking the pudding for a further 10–15 minutes. See extra cooking hints in my post introduction.
- Apple can be swapped for firm or just-ripe pear.
- Choco-date muffins are also delicious – my boys love them. Replace the apple and coconut with ¼ cup sifted cocoa powder and ½ cup dark chocolate chips. Add 2 tablespoons milk.
- The cupcakes will keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. They can also be frozen, with baking paper between the layers, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight.