If you grew up eating tiny sandwiches made with date-nut bread and cream cheese or even if you didn’t you’ll appreciate the wonderful flavor combination of these tiny cupcakes. Crème fraîche is a rich and velvety update, and soft enough for dolloping on top of the spiced cakes. A little batter goes a long way when baked in mini muffin tins, but the cupcakes freeze well and thaw quickly, so you can serve some now and save the rest for later. Or, if you prefer, you can bake the batter in standard muffin tins for about thirty minutes; you’ll end up with about three dozen.
- Yield: 75 mini
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 10 ounces plump, moist dates, preferably Medjool, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1½ cups boiling water
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups walnuts (about 4 ounces), toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup crème fraîche
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.
- In a large bowl, combine dates with the boiling water and butter. Stir until butter is melted and dates are soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and stir just until combined. Stir in walnuts.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 1 month, in airtight containers.
- To finish, dollop crème fraîche on top of each cupcake. Serve immediately.