Friday, 27 May 2011

Bramley Apple Cupcakes

A lovely way to get some of your five-a-day?

Tomorrow is my birthday. I'm not saying this for sympathy or for want of balloons but to justify my late-night baking.

In the British workplace, it seems to be customary for the birthday boy or girl to bring in cakes or biscuits for their colleagues. This, to me, seems like backwards logic; it's your birthday so surely others should be treating you? Anyway, I don't mind because it means that I get to bake.

Bramley apples are in season so you can buy them cheaply in most supermarkets. There's someone in the village where I grew up who has a tree that bears fruit at this time of year and they have so much that they don't know what to do with it so they pile it up on their garden wall for passers-by to get. The fruit is just lovely but has to be cooked as they're a lot more acidic that your run of the mill dessert apples. A lesson learnt from biting into a crisp apple on my way home. Our addiction to sugary foods has extended to fresh fruit with our supermarket shelves are filled with watery, sweet imported fruit from the likes of the USA and New Zealand. Bramleys mellow and sweeten as they are cooked so they're well worth the effort. They're fantastic in crumbles, yummy in apple sauce and add a certain something to mashed potato if you're serving it with pork. Very versatile, very tasty and in season so don't hold back.

For my birthday baking, I decided to treat my workmates to another take on apples. Apple cupcakes! There's very little butter or egg required in this recipe, which makes me feel more virtuous. The grated apple keeps the cake very moist so you won't miss them. I also substituted some of the butter in the butter icing with apple sauce - core a bramley apple and pop it in the oven on a baking tray at 180c until soft then mush up with a fork. So easy and you can put an apple or two in the oven with your cakes as they bake. Now I just need to work on my piping technique!

Bramley Apple Cupcakes
Makes 12 - 14 cakes

2 medium Bramley apples, peeled and grated
170g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
110g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

 - Preheat your oven to 180c.
 - Mix the flour, baking powder and spice in a bowl.
 - In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together then add the vanilla and the egg.
 - Fold in the grated apple. The mixture may look a bit curdled here but worry not.
 - Sift in the flour mixture, a little at a time, while stirring until combined.
 - Half fill your cupcake cases - I use silicone ones because they're easy and reusable (less waste, yay!) - and pop into the oven for 18 - 20 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through.
 - Allow them to cool completely then top with butter icing if you wish.

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