May 31, 2009

The Cupcake Challenge: Apple Spice with Almond Praline

apple spice cupcakes

And now for another installment of the cupcake challenge. Recently I had a friend give me a big bag of home ground granny smith apples. There's nothing I love better in life than free food, and it makes it even better when you can turn a great free ingredient into something that is delicious. So I needed to find a recipe to use the apples.......good old google was the answer. I found a recipe for an apple tea cake at Recipezaar, I baked it and it was eaten so quickly it didn't even have time to cool down. So I thought it would be fantastic to cook for my next cupcake challenge.

over head of apple spice cupcakes

I tweaked the recipe a little so it would translate into the cupcake form. I also frosted it with a butter cream frosting. My original idea was to make an apple toffee cupcake, but somehow that didn't happen, and I ended up making some almond praline and using it as a garnish.

take a bite
Mmmmmmm, sneaky bites are the best bites

Apple Spice cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting and Almond Praline

Makes about 30 cupcakes


1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups , sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups apple, peeled & diced into tiny pieces
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

1 cup butter, at room temperature
6-8 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup of almonds, lightly toasted
100 grams Castor sugar


1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners
3. Mix brown sugar, oil, egg & vanilla in large bowl.
4. Combine flour, baking soda & salt. Add to wet mixture. Add apple & buttermilk. Mix thoroughly just to moisten.
5. Divide batter into cupcake liners.
6. Bake cupcakes for 12 to 20 minutes, cupcakes are done when they are firm to the touch.

1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer for 3-5 minutes or until the consistency becomes smooth and creamy.
2. Add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition, or at least 2-3 minutes. Continue to add icing sugar until the frosting is thickened to your liking, you may not need all of the sugar.

1. Lay almonds in a tray lined with baking paper
2. In a small heavy based sauce pan add Castor sugar and enough water to just cover sugar.
3. Heat sugar mixture over medium heat, without agitating or mixing, until sugar turns a golden colour.
4. Immediately pour sugar over almonds and allow to cool. Once hardened break into small pieces and use as garnish.

take a bite take 2

I think the frosting is a little too sweet for this cupcake. The next time I make it I will seriously re-think what I will frost the cupcake with. But it they are a fantastic moist and gorgeous cupcake. Especially considering that winter is just around the corner, I always match apple desserts with winter nights.

all gone
Oh no, its all gone!


EDIT: I finally got some comments back from Daz, so here they are:

"I had one and I enjoyed it thoroughly. May [insert name of favourite footy team] have a winning weekend."


"Thank you (and your girlfriend) very much. Mmmm very tasty!"

"Awesome as always. Maybe your girlfriend should start a business."


Stephcookie said...

Ohh they look so cute and delicious! Nice idea using an apple tea cake recipe, I love the lightness of tea cakes :) I just used the same cupcake papers the other day to make cakes with apple, hehe great minds think alike! :)

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

Oo, homegrown apples is a lovely gift! You've made good use of them too, these cakes sound beautifully moist. I like the praline decoration too.

Anita said...

MMmmmm, apple cupcakes sound great! Did these ones go to work like some of the previous ones? Good luck with the icing, I often find cupcake icing is a bit too sweet, let me know when you find a good one.

Rilsta said...

Those cupcakes look so moist and delish! Yum!

Sorry if this is a dumb questions, but knowing nothing about cupcakes, can I ask why you put two layers of the cupcake case?

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Stephcookie - Hehhee, when I saw the cupcake liners I just had to have them, they are so cute, but now I've run out. I'll have to make more. What flavor cupcakes did you make?

Hi Arwen - I think homegrown anything taste better because love goes into it. I dont think I would want my own apple tree though. I'll just make sure my friend keeps giving me more!

Hi Anita - Yeah, these went to Daz's work as part of the cupcake challenge. His workmates usually email him their thoughts on the cakes but he's been sick the last couple of days. Hopefully once he gets back to work I can get my hands on the comments.

Hi Rilsta - I used the double liners just for presentation purposes. They look prettier, but you tend to use alot of liners. So I cheated a bit and only lined a couple with double liners for my blog, and sent single lined cupcakes to Daz's work. These liners were a little more expensive than the ones I usually buy, so that made me hold back too.

Anonymous said...

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