It’s October. The leaves are turning beautiful shades of red, orange and brown. The weather is being typically British and changeable (thanks Hurricane Brian!). So there isn’t much other option than to hunker down and enjoy a few autumn treats.
I do love the flavours of autumn; from mulled wine spices to pumpkin soup but you can’t beat the excuse to go all out on Sunday roasts and you can’t have a roast without a hot pudding and lashings of custard, right?! A good dollop of apple crumble inspired this latest bake which I can’t wait to share with you.
I had promised to take some baked treats to my catch up with Company of Makers last Wednesday and used it as an excuse to whip up a batch of cupcakes inspired by autumn.
This recipe makes 14 enormous cupcakes, I used a muffin tin with large cupcake paper liners and had enough mixture to make 14 (annoying when the tin only holds 12 at a time!).
The lovely thing about these is that the inclusion of chunks of apple keeps the sponge really moist and counteracts the sweet buttercream really well. I’m a fuss-pot when it comes to buttercream and have my absolute favourite recipe that gets adapted for all sorts of purposes but has that balance of sweetness and creaminess without being toothachingly sugary!
I’ve played with the quantities and got the soggy factor taken care of but you could change the apple up for a different fresh fruit (pear perhaps?) if you’d like. But for now, here is the recipe for apple crumble cupcakes with custard buttercream icing. YUM!
Apple Crumble Cupcakes
Chunks of apple and a hint of spice mean that these are perfect for autumn.
- 115 g Unsalted butter
- 150 g Light brown sugar
- 50 g Caster sugar
- 2 Eggs (large work well)
- 2 Eating apples (chopped into chunks, not peeled)
- 210 g Plain flour Can use gluten free
- 1 Tsp Baking powder
- 1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1.5 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 90 ml Semi skimmed milk
For the crumble topping
- 1.5 tbsp Unsalted butter, straight out of the fridge and cubed
- 20 g Porridge oats
- 35 g Plain flour Can use gluten free
- 25 g Caster sugar
For the custard icing
- 225 g Unsalted butter
- 240 g Icing sugar
- 70 g Custard powder
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp Double cream
Heat your oven to 180C. Prepare a cupcake or muffin tin with paper liners. You'll also need a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper ready to cook the crumble topping.
First up, get your crumble on! Rub the butter, oats, flour and caster sugar between your fingers until it starts to come together into a crumble texture - you don't want this to be too fine, rough and ready is fine as long as you have broken the big bits of butter down.
Scatter half of the crumble mixture onto the baking tray and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. You want it to look golden brown but keep an eye on it, it goes from perfect to scorched in seconds! Move the crumble around part way through baking as this helps to get an even colour.
To make the cupcake batter, beat the butter and all the sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Keep beating once they're combined and you'll see the mixture get paler and change consistency - this is the light and fluffy part!
Add in the eggs, one at a time to avoid curdling, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract at this point too.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda, spices and apple pieces. Make sure all of the apple pieces are well coated in flour - this helps them to spread out in the batter and not all sink to the bottom of your cupcakes.
Spoon the flour mixture, bit by bit, into the egg and sugar mix. Make sure it is really thoroughly mixed in but don't beat all the air out! Just ensure there are no pockets of flour hiding in the corners.
Split this batter amongst the paper liners until they are about 2/3rds full. Try to split the apple pieces evenly as if there is too much apple in one liner, there won't be enough batter to rise around it!
Top each cupcake with about a teaspoon of the uncooked crumble mix ensuring you cover the top of each cupcake.
Pop your cupcakes in the oven for about 20 minutes, they'll need to be well risen and golden brown. I use a knitting needle (instead of a skewer!) to check when they are cooked all the way through as it will come out clean when inserted.
Once cooked, move the cupcakes onto a cooling rack and leave them well alone until cold to the touch.
Whilst they are cooling you can make the icing. Beat the butter until nice and fluffy. Then add in the icing sugar, a little at a time to avoid a massive icing sugar cloud. Beating the mixture after each addition. Once you've got all the icing sugar mixed in, add the custard powder and vanilla extract. Finally, add the cream in, again a little at a time until the icing sugar is a thick texture that is pipeable (is that a word?!).
Once the cupcakes are cool, fill a piping bag with a star nozzle (I used a size 2) with the icing and pipe a swirl onto each cupcake. Put as much, or as little, icing on as your tastebuds like! Then sprinkle the cupcakes with the cooked crumble and a little dash of ground cinnamon to finish.
Et voila! Enjoy eating them (if you don't eat them right away, they'll keep for a few days in a sealed tin!)
What are your favourite autumn flavour combinations?
Try them in a cupcake!