It’s well and truly autumn now. Great news for me as it’s by far my favourite season. I adore the colour of the leaves at this time or year, and in a much more shallow way, I love my autumn wardrobe. You get to wear scarves and hats, yet not freeze your butt off. It’s cool enough for cosy winter coats and the nights are not too dark.
It’s also an opportunity to change up the ingredients in my baking. Spices play a heavy roll. Using dark brown sugars and treacle always seems like the right move. Pumpkins a plenty! Apples and pears also feature heavily. These cupcakes incorporate most of the above with a hint of spice and chunks of caramelised apple throughout.
These spiced apple cupcakes encapsulate the season in a bite. They are simple to make and don’t have the fuss or over-the-top sweetness of buttercream icing. They are light and moist with a cinnamon crunch on top thanks to the generous sprinkling of sugar atop the sliced apples. This recipe would work equally well with pears and is a great way to use up any that you find that just won’t ripen up in your fruit bowl.
Caramelising the diced apple prior to adding them in to the batter adds a delicious depth of flavour to the cupcakes but if you’re in a hurry it’s a step that can be skipped. Just be sure to use your favourite eating apple rather than a Bramley as it will be a bit too tart.
- 2 apples, peeled cored and chopped in to 1cm chunks – I used Royal Galas but any, even cooking, apples will taste great
- 125g plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 125g plus 1tbsp soft light brown sugar
- 150g plain flour
- 3 tbsp custard powder
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100ml milk
- ½ an apple thinly sliced, no need to peel it
- 2tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C fan. Line a cupcake tray with twelve cupcake cases.
- In a frying pan,over a medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved add in the chopped apple and cook for about 5 minutes until the apple has browned and caramelised. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Measure the flour, custard powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, or free standing mixer, beat the remaining butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- Fold in one third of the flour mixture, or mix on low if you are using a mixer, followed by half of the milk. Continue adding the flour and milk alternately, ending with the flour. Fold in the cooled apple.
- Use an ice cream scoop or a large spoon to divide the batter evenly between the twelve cupcake cases. Top the mixture with two thin slices of apple. In a small bowl stir together the cinnamon and sugar and top the cupcakes with a generous sprinkling.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a skewer inserted in to the centre comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the tin immediately and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Top the cupcakes with a light dusting of icing sugar to serve if desired.