Spiced apple and walnut cupcakes
I have recently become introduced to The Great British Bake-off on BBC 2. It is very fascinating for an amateur baker, but also strangely stressful. It makes me realise in addition, that despite being a scientist I don’t bake particularly accurately. It seems much more fun to rely on “intuition” and adjust the recipe off the cuff according to what seems a good idea or improvement. However, this is also what several others seem to do on this show, and are often judged negatively for it. It makes me wonder what these judges (as opposed to forgiving friends and family) would actually say about half the concoctions and adaptations on here.
On a plus note it was quite fun to entertain the idea of what flavour I would choose to go for to make a winning batch of cupcakes; there were some terribly inventive ones on TV. I think… pina colada cupcakes with coconut frosting. Peach melba and mango. Or maybe lemon poppyseed white white chocolate frosting. Mmmmmm
In ANY case, despite what TV judges might think, experimentation is definitely needed at times. Take for example, these spiced apple and walnut cupcakes. Another Hummingbird Bakery recipe, but like most of the recipes from them I’ve used a) they cite too much sugar in the sponge and b) the frosting recipe makes far too much. Adjusting for this, they make quite nice-tasting little cakes. Bake away.
3 oz margarine
8 oz castor sugar
8.5 oz plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
240 mL whole milk
2 large eggs
2 granny smith apples, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/2-1 cm cubes
50 g walnuts, chopped
- 300 g icing sugar
- 130 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 300 g full fat cream cheese
- Ground cinnamon, and walnut halves, for decoration
Preheat the oven to 375 oF / Gas 5 / 190 oC. Mix the sifted flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, butter and sugar together in a large bowl on slow, until all the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture looks like fine crumbs or sand. In a jug, beat together the eggs and milk, then add to the flour mixture in two separate additions, beating between each. Keep beating on medium until well mixed. Then, tip in the walnuts and apple and mix by hand to distribute. Spoon into 16 muffin/cupcake cakes (more if using fairy cases), and bake in the oven for 20-22 mins, when the cupcakes will be golden and well risen and spring back to the touch. Leave to cool on a wire rack whilst making the icing.
To decorate, beat the butter and cream cheese together with an a electric whisk, before slowly adding the sifted icing sugar. Beat on high until no lumps remain and the icing is smooth and spreadable.Add a dash of milk if it’s too thick, especially if you’re going to pipe. To cover, either fill a piping bag with a large cucpake nozzle and use to decorate, or with a small palette knife spread the frosting over each cake. To finish, dust lightly with cinnamon and top with half a walnut. The tate of autumn is in the air…