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Salted Caramel Cupcakes

by James Morton

The salty, treacly topping for​ ​this cake is a slightly thicker variation of​ ​a caramel sauce recipe, so that it stops just shy of soaking into the sponge below.

Prep time

20 minutes

Cook time

25 minutes






You know those large, irregular paper cases in which they serve muffins at Starbucks? Somewhere, some marketing person has thought they might make the muffins seem better. And now they are on sale in​ ​the baking aisle in your local supermarket.. for about a million pounds each. But you can make a pretty passable substitute by deftly scrunching a square of baking paper into a muffin tin, greased so it sticks. This has the advantage of both cheapness and versatility – if you’re after cupcakes or muffins but can’t get the cases at short notice, these work pretty well.

If you drizzle your cakes with​ ​a runny icing or topping, the high-sidedness of these cases will stop you getting your fingers sticky. I feel like you should never​ ​trust an icing that doesn’t run​ ​or at the very least gradually​ ​ooze. Stiff, beaten and luminous buttercreams are there only to distract from the deficiencies​ ​of the cakes they adorn. The salty, treacly topping for​ ​this cake is in no way stationary. It’s a slightly thicker variation of​ ​a caramel sauce recipe, so that it stops just shy of soaking into the sponge below. The sponge is kept moist by the substitution of usual caster sugar with its soft, brown light cousin. Make sure the mix of butter and sugar is light and fluffy before adding the eggs, or you’ll risk little lumps of sugar in your cake.


Step 1

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Cut across a roll of baking paper to make a square and then cut that into four smaller squares. Repeat twice more to make 12 squares, then shove these into greased muffin tins to make cases.

Step 2

In a large bowl, weigh butter and sugar. Beat these together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy – really, they should double in volume at least. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Don’t worry if it curdles, this is fine.

Step 3

Add flour and baking powder and gently stir it in with a large wooden or metal spoon. It should be smooth, but only just. If you think the mixture looks too thick (it should be a bit wobbly and fall gently from the spoon if it’s lifted), add a splash of milk and mix it in.

Step 4

Transfer your mixture to your muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until springy to touch and a lovely, dark brown colour on top. They shouldn’t be crisp. While they cool in the tins, you can make the topping.

Step 5

Into a saucepan, place the sugar and syrup. Heat over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved and they are just beginning to bubble. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, cream and salt.

Step 6

When your topping is smooth, you can drizzle it on top of your cakes. To finish, sprinkle a little salt on top.



For the sponge:

  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • 150g Graham’s slightly salted butter, soft
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 11⁄2tsp baking powder
  • A little milk, if needed

For the topping:

  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 75g Graham’s slightly salted butter
  • 50g Graham’s double cream
  • 1⁄2tsp flaked sea salt