These are surely the most decadent cupcakes I've ever made. It's from Marian Keyes' book (yes, the author is also a baker). The final result is a soft bananary bite with a burst of silky dulce de leche in the middle and a crunchy caramel topping. My husband's birthday cupcakes - may the fourth be with you! You can use store-bought dulce de leche but if you're in lockdown, just make your own.

dulce de leche:

4 c milk (I used rice)

1 1/2 c sugar (I used coconut sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring the milk and sugar to a boil in a saucepan, lower heat and simmer uncovered for at about 1 1/2 hours until thickened and caramelised, stirring frequently. Skim away foam that forms during simmering.

Remove from heat, stir in vanilla then transfer to a bowl or jug to cool, Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


125g butter

125 sugar

2 eggs, beaten

3 or 4 ripe bananas

125g self-raising flour (or normal flour with 1 tsp baking powder)

100g dulce de leche

salted caramel:

100g butter

75g brown sugar

75g rice syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

sea salt flakes

Preheat oven to 170C. Line 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add beaten eggs. Mash the bananas and stir into the mixture then sieve in flour and fold until fully combined.

Fill the cupcake cases a third full with batter, Spoon about half a teaspoon of dulce de leche into each cupcake. Top up each cupcake so the dulce de leche is fully enclosed.

Bake for about 30 min. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

In a small saucepan melt all the caramel ingredients. Bring to the boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes until caramel thickens. Remove from heat and let cool in a clean bowl.

Spread caramel over each cupcake and sprinkle with sea salt flakes if desired. If there's any caramel left spread onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and you can break off caramel toffee pieces to eat later.