Thursday 4 February 2010

Apple, blackcurrant and clotted cream cupcakes

Presenting to you the reason that I bought the tub of clotted cream in the first place, which led to me having half a tub of clotted cream left to use in this shortcake. So was it worth buying the clotted cream - oh yes! I discovered two good recipes so a definite bonus. This recipe is from the Sainsbury's Magazine (excellent value for money, as I'm sure I've said before) and generally full of interesting things to read, and really good columnists, both foodie and otherwise (and no, I am in no way connected to/employed by/recieving anything from Sainsbury's for saying this, but if they want to offer.....) so if you can get hold of a copy do! The recipe came from a feature on afternoon tea which caught my eye when first flicking through the magazine and then when I looked more closely it turned out that the recipes were by Dan Lepard, which only served to make me keener to try them - I know that his recipes work well. Other than the clotted cream, I had everything to hand. I made a few small changes to the recipe, which I'll outline below.

I made these for a 90th birthday party I went to where the recipients (of varying ages!!!) were of conservative taste. Another party go-er made banana toffee meringue pie, which looked delicious, but which was repeatedly greeted with 'oh, I only like lemon' and a disappointed look before walking off. Needless to say, anything that didn't look conventional or perfect didn't go very well, and I'm very sad to report that these cupcakes suffered this fate. I blame myself. The recipe clearly specifies two bun tins, and I possess only one muffin tin. Hmm. Even though I used two paper liners and squashed the cases into a relatively tight space, it just wasn't happening. Hence the rather erm.... 'rustic' appearance of the cakes. However, as I'm sure you know appearance is not everything, and what these lacked on the looks front, they more than made up for on the taste front. In a way, I feel sorry for the people who didn't try them when they had a chance, they really missed out!

Mmm, square cupcakes - special!!!
Anyway, fewer excuses for appearance, more recipe for cake....
This recipe was first published in the February 2010 issue of Sainsbury's Magazine, and is reproduced by kind permission from the editorial team there, and by Dan Lepard, whose website (currently undergoing an exciting makeover) can be found here, along with the forums where you'll be able to find many more excellent recipes, worthy of your time and effort along with invaluable advice from fellow bakers. Go there, go now and you won't regret it. Well, actually, stay long enough to read the recipe here first and tell me what you think, then go!!!

Apple and blackcurrant clotted cream cupcakes
3 dessert apples, peeled and cored
2 tsp mixed spice (I omitted this)
50g unsalted butter, softened
113g tub Taste the difference clotted cream (or half of a 227g tub, which appeared to be the only size they sold in my local store)
150g caster sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract (I omitted due to allergies)
2 large eggs
75g ground almonds (I substituted with semolina due to allergies)
225g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
100g high quality blackcurrant conserve (Taste the difference is specified, I used Bonne Maman)
For the icing
150g icing sugar, sifted
75g blackcurrant conserve, as above

You will also need 2 cupcake trays lined with 20 cupcake cases (you really do need these.....and I made around 25 cupcakes)

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Chop the apples into rough small dice (I was doing this by hand and mine were probably about 1cm square, which I think with hindsight is too big. They need to be really quite small). Toss with the mixed spice until covered.
2. In a bowl, beat together the butter, clotted cream, sugar and almond extract (if using!) until smooth, then fold in the ground almonds (or semolina). Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and fold this through, too. Add the apples and fold very gently until just combined. I found the mixture very stiff and difficult to fold the apples into. Gentle didn't come into it!
3. Half fill the cupcake cases with the mixture. Dilute the conserve with 25ml of boiling water, beat well, then spoon a little into each cupcake. Top each one with a teaspoonful of cake mixture. I have to confess that due to the combined problems of stiff batter with large lumps of apple in it, this was really difficult - I ended up with some cases full of essentially apple and little batter, others all batter, little apple. I also found that the let down jam ran out and everywhere, next time I won't let it down. It was difficult to properly cover the jam because it had run out and because of the lumpy sticky batter, so eventually I gave up, and marbled the rest of the jam through the remaining batter, which was much easier. I will try again the proper way I think.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden; leave for 5 minutes then loosen each cake with a knife and move to a wire rack to cool.
5. For the icing, beat the icing sugar with the conserve and a little water until creamy. Spoon on to the cupckes and leave to set.

The accompanying photo in the magazine looks much better than my efforts, although my top photo is ok. Next time I would chop the apple smaller, and perhaps let the batter down with a little milk to make it easier to work with. I also wouldn't dilute the jam. But I would make them again, the flavours were lovely and the blackcurrant and apple together were really nice. It was also a good way to use up some dessert apples I had lurking, and it's always nice to use things up!

Like I said, I had a few escapees. I like to think of this cupcake as the elephant man of the batch. Still delicious though and all were eaten with relish by colleagues who didn't have a choice of other items and I think know that most things I bake are edible if not really quite yummy!!!


Johanna GGG said...

I have see jam filled cupcakes before but I love the idea of using apple in the batter - though I sympathise with you re the lumps of apple - I have found these hard to mix in sometimes

I wondered if your substitution of semolina made the batter stiffer - almonds have some oil in them which make them moist but semolina is very dry and soaks up moisture

Chele said...

What a great idea. These cupcakes look wonderful.

Alicia Foodycat said...

It's hard to go wrong with clotted cream! Such a shame they met an unappreciative audience.

Maria♥ said...

Love the sound of this combo and they look delish too.

You have an award waiting for you at my blog.


Anonymous said...

I love the escapee! these look great!

Anna said...

I always think you are old when you don't try new things or even try to listen or learn about new things.....they missed out!


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