26 November 2011

Apple & Maple Syrup Cupcakes


It's a celebratory week in America, and although we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, our television has been so bombarded with it that the idea of it (and Canada, too, thanks to Perfect Couples, I think) had seeped into my brain. So much so that I felt a very strong desire to use maple syrup in something and also have a big urge to make sweet potato pie, which is now what I'm going to do next weekend.

I therefore present to you these apple and maple syrup cupcakes, which are wonderfully moist and light, and pretty straightforward to make. On top of the cakes are slices of caramelised apple, which I'm quite proud of because not only did they not go wrong but I even managed to avert the fire alarm going off, despite the burnt sugar lining the pan. I think they're set to go down well as N seems to like them, as do I, so there may not be many left after the weekend - just in case you were planning on breaking in and stealing them.



In last week's post I mentioned that I might make caramel apple pie, which I actually did do but it didn't turn out as I wanted. I know that hasn't stopped me posting horrors in the past, but with the caramel apple pie I'm trying to replicate something that I've eaten before and have so far been unsuccessful. I can make the apple pie part fine, but the caramel/fudge topping is proving to be difficult. I've found a similar version in Morrisons before, so maybe if I'm ever in a good mood by the time I get to the bakery section I'll ask them about it.  When I do figure the recipe out I'll definitely post it so do keep your eyes peeled.

As with last week, I had to battle with extraordinarily lumpy icing sugar, but unlike my grandparents I have a food processor so was able to blitz the icing sugar into a fine powder in seconds. I love my food processor.

For those of you who were waiting with baited breath, I finally got the SD card slot working in my laptop - apparently the driver wasn't installed, even though the computer said that it was when I first discovered the problem - and have hence been able to add that other picture to the flapjacks post. That was actually my first post, so you can see how long it's taken. Those flapjacks were pretty tasty so I'd go and try them out if I were you. Only after you've tried these, though.

Makes 14

Ingredients

For the cake:
  • 200g Self Raising Four
  • 200g Light Muscovado Sugar
  • 200g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 8 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 Bramley Apples, peeled and cored.
For the decoration:
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 60g Butter
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 10-12 Drops Lemon Juice
  • 25g Light Muscovado Sugar
Recipe
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan; prepare a cupcake tin (or two - if you only have one, either use silicone cases on a normal baking tray for the overflow or just cook in two batches) and line it with cases.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, then add the eggs one at a time.
  • Gradually add the flour and baking powder, stirring well in between each addition.
  • Stir the maple syrup into the mixture.
  • Carefully take very thin slices off the apples until you have about 14 slices of a decent size, drizzle with the lemon juice and put to one side.
  • Finely chop the rest of the apples, then stir them into the cake mixture.
  • Separate the cake mixture between the cupcake cases and put in the oven for about 20 mins until a skewer comes out clean, then leave on a cooling rack to cool.
  • Meanwhile, take 10g of the remaining butter and melt in a frying pan over a low heat. Spread the sugar over a plate and dip both sides of a slice of apple into it, brushing any excess sugar off before placing it onto the frying pan.
  • After a few seconds, depending on the thickness, flip the slice over. After a few more seconds, remove it from the heat and place on a plate until you need it. Repeat with the other slices (it's possible to do more than one slice at a time!)
  • Make the buttercream by slowly adding the remaining butter to the icing sugar in a bowl and creaming them together until you get the desired consistency. Stir in the maple syrup.
  • Take a teaspoon of the buttercream and spread it over a cake. Place a slice of apple on top - I learned that if the slice is very thin it can look appealing if you bend it a bit on the cake, as above. Repeat with all the other cakes, and you're done!
Decorating
One thing to note for students/people who aren't rich is that maple syrup bottles cost about £3 per 250ml, so maybe decide how much you want to make these cakes before you go and spend that much. Maple syrup is tasty on pancakes and in porridge and yoghurt, too, should you be lost for ideas for using it up.

As always, if you didn't understand any of that jargon then please visit The Basics.

I'll see you next week, when I'll probably be making sweet potato pie. Try not to freeze to death in the mean time.

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