For the tahini & brown butter buttercream


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Whisk together the flour, ground cardamom, baking powder and ½ tsp salt. Set aside.

  • STEP 2

    Combine 1 tbsp of the flour mix with the chopped dates and toss to coat. Set aside.

  • STEP 3

    Beat the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 30 seconds until smooth. Tip in the brown sugar and beat on high speed until pale, light and fluffy, about 8-10 mins. Add the vanilla and beat again to combine. With the motor on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Heat the milk in a heatproof jug in the microwave for 20 seconds until warm, but not hot. Stir in the coffee granules until dissolved. Set aside.

  • STEP 4

    Sift a quarter of the flour mix into the butter and egg mixture, then use a spatula to fold together until just combined. Fold through a third of the milky coffee. Repeat until all the components are used and no streaks of flour remain. Fold in the dates.

  • STEP 5

    Divide the batter between the cases and bake for 17-20 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the middles comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • STEP 6

    Meanwhile, make the tahini buttercream. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, stirring continuously for 10 mins. It will froth up vigorously, and you should start to see light brown solids form at the bottom. Pour into a heatproof bowl.

  • STEP 7

    Leave the butter to cool slightly, then transfer to the fridge, stirring occasionally, until it's a spreadable consistency, about 30 mins. Transfer to a stand mixer, add the tahini and beat until combined. Add the vanilla bean paste along with a pinch of salt, and mix again. Mix in the icing sugar, a little at a time, beating well between each addition to fully incorporate. Beat again on high for 7-10 mins until smooth. Chill until needed.

  • STEP 8

    When the cakes have cooled, carefully remove the centres using a sharp knife or corer, reserving the cut-out pieces. Mix a pinch of salt into the caramel, then spoon (or pipe) this into the gaps and cover using the cut-out pieces.

  • STEP 9

    Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe the frosting over the cupcakes in swirls. Or, spread over the cupcakes using a palette knife. Will keep in an airtight container for up to two days.


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