It’s autumn; the leaves are beautiful colours, the evening sunsets are golden and the morning mist reminds us that the seasons are in charge!
One of my favourite things about autumn is the flavour palette. I’ve always loved apple and cinnamon – my Dad has always made the most incredible crumbles that are a decadent end to a Sunday roast. Still today, that flavour combo brings feelings of comfort and family time.
You might remember these apple crumble cupcakes from last October topped with custard icing and crumble pieces. They went down a storm! This recipe draws on similar flavours but is slightly simpler yet just as scrummy.
Recently I had been playing with a take on a traditional Dutch Apple Cake that has worked nicely in a tray bake topped with cinnamon cream cheese icing. I made it a couple of times, once for some girlfriends as a Sunday afternoon treat and then I sent another batch to work with my husband to get him through a run of night shifts.
When I knew I had to make some treats for a baby shower, I thought the recipe might work as a cupcake too. With a little tweak on the baking timings!
I topped them with vanilla cream cheese and edible flowers for a big pop of colour to quickly decorate for the party.
These ones are gluten free, I use Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour but you can substitute in normal wheat flour or a different brand of self-raising flour with no problems at all.
I bought my edible flowers from Wild Thyme Wholefoods in Portsmouth but they are produced by Turf Croft Organic Herbs in the New Forest. Such a stunning selection of pansies, cornflower, nasturtiums and calendula.
Apple and Sultana Cupcakes
- 225 g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 115 g Unsalted Butter
- 115 g Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 10 tbsp Semi-Skimmed milk
- 4 Eating Apples
- 100 g Sultanas
- 100 g Cream Cheese
- 300 g Icing Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (Gas Mark 4). Line a muffin tin/large cupcake tin with paper cases.
Sift the flour and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. Dice the butter into small squares and rub into the flour (like you're making crumble). If you're pushed for time, tip the flour, cinnamon and chopped butter into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the consistency is that of breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar. Add the egg and half of the milk. Mix together, add the remainder of the milk a tablespoon at a time until a batter consistency is reached. You want to reach a thick batter which drops off the spoon but isn't as runny as pancake batter.
Chop the pudding apples into small chunks no bigger than your little fingernail. Add the apple and sultanas into the batter and mix well to combine. Make sure you stir the fruit through so it is spread evenly through the batter.
Spoon the batter into the cake cases until they are 3/4s full. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, use a skewer to see if the middle is cooked and put back in the oven for a further 5 minutes if required. Place the cupcakes on a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, use an electric whisk to beat the cream cheese, vanilla extract and icing sugar together. This isn't an exact science - you might need to add more icing sugar if the mixture is still wet. You want it to be a thick whipped consistency that is pipeable.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe the icing onto the top in swirls using a star nozzle. Start from the outside and swirl in and up, rising to a peak and twisting the nozzle to release. Decorate with a sprinkle of cinnamon or, in this case, edible flowers!