On Friday evening, I launched into creating the ‘A’ of my A to Z of Baking challenge with gusto. I decided to try Apple and Walnut Cupcakes for the first time and, as I had a friend’s barbecue to go to on Saturday afternoon, I thought it would be a great opportunity to make the cakes to take with me, so that I wouldn’t be stuck with loads of cupcakes at home that I would just have to eat myself. Baking for other people is always so much more enjoyable and worthwhile.
It was quite late in the evening before I got around to making the cupcakes and despite a minor hiccup, where I realised I needed 600g of icing sugar (how much?!) for the cake topping and I only had 300g (it still tasted fine – it was too late to head back out to the shop for more), all was going well. That was, until I was about to pour the cake mix into the cases, when my cat Theo proudly waltzed through the cat flap… with a dead bird in his mouth. Great. When I saw what he was carrying, I shrieked like a banshee, causing him to drop the dead bird on the kitchen floor and bolt into the living room.
When I calmed down, I saw the funny side, although it was really sad that he had killed a lovely little bird. Theo had obviously heard that I was taking on a baking challenge and decided to take the nursery rhyme Sing a Song of Sixpence quite literally and bring me an extra ingredient (‘four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie…’). Needless to say, the bird remained on the floor until the cakes were safely in the oven and I could deal with the situation and remove it from the house.
Overall, I was impressed with the result. The cakes didn’t look as disastrous as some of my previous concoctions, in fact they looked surprisingly good! Plus, the combination of apple, cinnamon and walnut worked really well and I got really positive feedback from all who tried them.
Not only did friends sample the cupcakes at the barbecue, but I even gave some cupcakes to some neighbours on Saturday morning, who had kindly taken it upon themselves to fill in the moon-like craters that have been spoiling our unadopted road for a long time and making motorists’ lives hell. As a small way of ‘thank you’, we offered them some cupcakes, which they gladly accepted, and told them all about the A to Z baking challenge. They enjoyed the cakes and told us, “We can’t wait for the letter ‘B’!” 😉
The apple, cinnamon and walnut combination tasted lovely and although a sweet treat, these cupcakes didn’t taste too sweet and sickly like some cupcakes have a tendency to. Plus, I was able to get 16 healthy looking cupcakes out of the mixture, so it’s a great recipe when you have a few people to cater for.
Dead-birdgate wasn’t ideal, although it made the experience more interesting. I could also have done with checking the quantities before going to buy ingredients. Although using half the required amount of icing sugar tasted fine, a little more icing sugar could have firmed up the topping a little more.
Here’s the recipe I followed (taken from the Hummingbird Bakery ‘Cake Days’ book):
For the sponge: For the frosting:
80g softened butter 600g icing sugar
280g caster sugar 100g softened butter
240g plain flour 250g full fat cream cheese
1 tbsp. baking powder Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt 12-16 walnut halves
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
240ml whole milk
200g apples (peeled and cut
in small pieces)
50g chopped walnuts
3. Stir apples and walnuts into the batter.
4. Fill paper cases by about two-thirds and bake the cupcakes for 18-20
5. For the frosting: Beat icing sugar with butter on low speed until
6. Add cream cheese and mix on medium-to-high speed until the frosting is smooth.
7. Decorate the cupcakes with the frosting when they are cooled. Dust them with