Our first challenge on the Great South African Bake Off was to create a cupcake that contained fruit in the batter. I must admit, in the past I have not generally been fond of bringing fruit into the desserts I bake, but this challenge intrigued me. I immediately thought of Apple Crumble, and wanted to experiment with it. But, how to turn an old-school favourite (a tart) into a cupcake worthy of my Signature Bake; my debut on the show?
As required, apples (my chosen fruit) would be an integral ingredient in the batter, but these can be notoriously bland in baking, and so I needed to spice things up... I added cinnamon to elevate and enhance the flavour. A classic pairing with apples.
I thought crème fraiche would add an interesting flavour profile to an already delicious cupcake, however, it is not thick enough on its own to stand as a frosting. So in went some creme cheese and butter. The icing sugar was a sweet touch.
Lastly, but by no means least... the crumble. The contrasting texture of this crumble is what pushes this cupcake over the edge, and honestly it is what I believe saved me from elimination in round one. A soft cupcake with bursts of apple, a luxuriously smooth frosting and a toe-curling crumble... perfection I tell you!
What do you need?
100g unsalted butter (softened)
185g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
2 whole eggs
210g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
125ml full cream milk
75g pink lady apples (grated or finely diced)
Crème Fraiche Frosting
125g cream cheese (a block rather than a tub)
125g crème fraiche
55g unsalted butter (softened)
135g icing sugar
35g unsalted butter (softened)
15g brown sugar
15g icing sugar
20g almond flour
40g cake flour
How do you do it?
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cream together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer or beater.
Add the eggs one at a time until the mixture is fully combined.
Into the bowl with the eggs and butter, sift a third of the flour, add the cinnamon and half the milk together into the bowl and fold the ingredients together.
Add another third of the flour and the rest of the milk, and fold the ingredients together again.
Add the last of the flour and fold the ingredients until fully combined.
Fold the grated or diced apple into the mixture.
Spoon the mixture in equal amounts into a muffin tray lined with cupcake holders.
Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove the tray from the oven and leave them to cool for 5 minutes in the tray before removing them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 160C.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and mix with a dough hook or wooden spoon.
Crumble pieces onto the baking tray and bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
You may need to stir the mixture a few times during the bake to get an even golden brown colour to your crumble.
Crème Fraiche Frosting
Beat together the cream cheese, crème fraiche and butter until fully combined and smooth.
Sift the icing sugar into the bowl, and mix until fully incorporated and smooth. Make sure there are no lumps.
The final product
Smear or pipe a generous amount of frosting onto the top of a completely cooled cupcake.