Cupcakes can be one of life’s biggest disappointments.
Sure they look amazing, so you figure they’ll taste even better. But the icing is too sweet and buttery, and the cake is a sad and flat little blob of devastation. Flavourless. Dry. Worthless.
These cupcakes are not like those evil party cupcakes. Cupcakes are pretty, and easy to share, so in theory they make so much sense. I wanted to use apples because they have just come in season and they’re just so AUTUMN. I’ve never used a piping bag before which you can probably tell, it was so fun though!
The hefty chunks of apple bake into soft little pockets of sweetness and the cinnamon smells so good! The olive oil makes the cakes delicate and really flavoursome. But the best part by far is the icing! It is a cream cheese icing made one thousand times better with the addition of honey and brown sugar. It brings these cupcakes to a whole new level. The recipe is adapted from Ottolenghi, which is just about the most useful cookbook ever. I’ve seriously made almost everything in it.
Apple Cupcakes with Honey Icing: Adapted from this book
3 apples, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
120ml (1/2 cup, 4.1 ounces) olive oil
160g (5 oz, 2/3 cup) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp baking powder
280g (2 cups + 3 tbsp) plain flour
2 eggs + 2 egg whites, kept separately
250g (1/2 pound, 9 ounces) cream cheese
90ml (6 tbsp, 3 ounces) honey
100g (4 ounces, 1 stick) softened butter
100g (1/2 cup, 4 ounces) brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) and prepare 12 cupcake tins.
For the cupcakes: Beat together the vanilla, sugar and oil until smooth. Slowly add in the two whole eggs and beat until combined. Fold through the apple, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Sift in the baking powder and flour and stir to combine. Separately, beat the egg whites until tripled in size and fold gently through. If your batter is still very dry, try adding a pour of milk at this stage.
For the icing: Beat together the butter, sugar and honey until smooth. Add the cream cheese in chunks and beat until completely smooth and fluffy. Spread over the cupcakes once they are cool.