Crumbs…How do you like them apples?

Alongside the GBBO on our screens at the moment we’re also having a mini bake off at work. Four group stages, moving onto semi finals, etc. I’d been procrastinating for weeks as to make for the work bake off, changing my mind every couple of days. So to nail two birds with one stone I concocted a bake which I could use for both by GBBO posts and also the work bake off, don’t say I’m not efficient! (read: lazy)!

As with episode 4 then, pudding would be the order of the day but self saucing pudding were automatically discounted, as was a Baked Alaska so I took a leaf from Mary Berry’s technical challenge and created a pudding inspired cake. My garden is awash with apples and blackberries so I thought it would be nice to make a seasonal cupcake incorporating the two, so I settled for the classic apple and blackberry crumble, but cupcake style!

Apple sponge, filled with blackberry curd, then topped with a thick custard frosting, pistachio crumble and then finished with a shortbread biscuit. A balance of sweet and sharp with soft, creamy and crisp textures, which I think worked. The flavours of an apple and blackberry crumble were there, encased in a cake. The triumph for me was the frosting, using an adaptation of the flour frosting found in my pistachio, honey and lime cupcakes I made a couple of years back. Creamy and spiked with vanilla, but not too sweet or heavy.

These cakes take time, they are hard work as there are five elements in total to make, but some parts are optional, such as the biscuit and the curd (you could use shop bought jam and just crush up some biscuits). However I would say if you have the time, then do give this a go. I thought they were a bit of a success plus the Husband devoured one in seconds, always a good sign. Others seemed to think so too, as I won my round of the bake off! Hooray! Phew, no tantrums or bin throwing incidents here! That does mean I have to think about something to make for the next round though…

Go on, give these puddingy cakey treats a go, would love to know what you think!

Apple and Blackberry Crumble Cupcakes
Makes approx 16 cupcakes

For the sponge
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eating apples
2 large eggs
240 ml whole milk

For the curd
200g blackberries
50ml lemon juice
2 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
100g butter

For the frosting
150g caster sugar
35g plain flour
175ml whole milk
40ml double cream
175g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crumble and biscuits
100g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
140g plain flour
75g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
75g pistachios, ground

Firstly, make the curd in advance, this can be done a few days in advance. Whiz up the blackberries in a blender then pass through a sieve. Put the lemon juice blackberries, sugar and butter into pan. Place on a very low heat until the butter has melted.

Mix the eggs and egg yolk lightly with a fork, then stir into the pan. Let the curd cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, until it is thick and custard-like. It will coat the back of a spoon.

Pour into a jar to cool, for filling the cakes later.

Next, start off the frosting. In a medium saucepan, whisk sugar and cornflour until well blended. Add vanilla, milk and cream and whisk until smooth. Stick the pan on a moderate heat and stir constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until mixture thickens and comes to a simmer, this will take about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool completely.

Then, make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 180c and line a muffin tin with cases.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and add to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Mix until combined. Add the milk and mix again until combined.Peel and core the apples then chop into 0.5cm pieces. Fold through the cake batter.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes, but check after about 18 minutes. Once the cakes are done they should be golden and springy to the touch. Turn out onto a cooling rack.

When the cakes are fully cool, using a corer or a knife, cut out the central part of the cake and fill with blackberry curd. Top this off with the cored out piece. You may need to trim of some of this piece to fit. Repeat for all cakes.

Then, make the crumble and shortbread. Blitz all of the ingredients except the pistachios together in a processor until they look like breadcrumbs. Sprinkle half of the mixture onto a parchment lined tray and mix with the pistachios, bake in the oven that should still be on for about 8-10 minutes until golden. Set to one side.

Continue to blitz the remaining half of the shortbread until it comes together. Pull into a ball, wrap in cling film then pop in the fridge for 30 mins. Roll out onto a floured surface and then cut out into shapes – I used a leaf cutter but you can just cut into disks. Like the crumble, place on a lined tray and bake for about 8-10 minutes. Leave to cool.

Next you need to finish off the frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in cream-cornflour mixture, beating until blended with butter. Continue beating until fluffy and smooth. This will take a good couple of minutes, it’ll get to the stage where it has a similar consistency of whipped cream. Mix in the vanilla and a drop or two of yellow food colouring to make it look custard yellow.

Finally, assemble the cupcakes. Pipe the frosting onto the cake, sprinkle over the crumble and decorate with the shortbread biscuit.

You might need a lie down after all that work, but afterwards do tuck in. A lovely taste of Autumn!

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4 thoughts on “Crumbs…How do you like them apples?

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