For my first baking session of 2012 I wanted to make something seasonal (hence the use of cinnamon. I love the smell and taste of cinnamon at any time of year but especially in the winter) and something that the children could take to school in their lunchboxes. I also had some Bramley apples left over from when I made my Christmas puddings and not wanting to see them go to waste, I set about making these yummy cupcakes.
The recipe is adapted from Apple and Walnut Cupcakes in the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book. I didn't have any walnuts, although I did have some pine nuts which work just as well. I also didn't want to add the frosting (a bit messy when the cake is to be stuffed into a lunchbox!), so instead added some demerera sugar half way through the baking time to give a really satisfying, crunchy topping.
Makes 12-16 cupcakes
80g unsalted butter, softened
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
a quarter tsp salt
1 and a half tsps cinnamon
240ml whole milk
2 large eggs
2 Granny Smith apples (I used Bramley)
50g walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 190 degs C/180 degs C fan/gas mark 5 and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
2. Using a hand-held electric whisk or an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon on a low speed until the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
3. Place the milk in a jug with the eggs and whisk by hand until combined, then pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and keep beating until smooth and thick, adding the scrapings from the side of the bowl, then pour in the remaining milk mixture and continue to mix on a medium speed until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth.
4. Peel, core and chop the apples into 1cm pieces (the total weight should be about 200g), then stir into the batter with the nuts. Spoon the batter into the paper cases to fill them by about two- thirds. If any batter is left, it can be used to fill up to four more cases in a second muffin tin.
5. Bake the cupcakes for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven. Sprinkle each cupcake with a liberal amount of demerera sugar and put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the cakes bounce back when gently pressed. Allow to cool in the tin a little, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. If you can't wait that long, they are delicious when still warm!