It’s definitely getting colder as the days go on but we haven’t quite reached ‘batten down the hatches, all food must be hot including puddings’ weather, so these apple crumble cupcakes are a nice seasonal compromise, delicious with a cup of tea. They are quite messy though so I’d recommend eating them with a fork and a plate!
If you like cake, apples, cinnamon and biscuity crumble, these are definitely for you, and the apple helps to keep them moister than your average cupcake for a good few days after you bake them. If you’re not a fan of the sweetness of traditional butter icing, you might be converted by these guys, as the tart apples and almost savoury crumble temper the icing sugar’s sweetness. Anyway, try them! They are a little bit of a time investment due to the number of stages involved, but on the bright side they are very quick to decorate!
For the apple filling:
- 2 bramley apples
- 55g light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the cakes:
- 175g soft salted butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp milk
- 175g self-raising flour
For the icing:
- 150g salted butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
For the crumble topping:
- 25g salted butter
- 25g light brown sugar
- 50g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Start by peeling the apples and cutting them up into cubes. Bramleys have a habit of turning brown relatively quickly once they hit the air but don't worry too much about this as they are going to be cooked in lots of brown sugar and cinnamon anyway.
- Toss the apples in the sugar and cinnamon and then put into a smallish saucepan over a medium heat, stirring every now and then until they have become tender and syrupy, but take them off the heat before they lose their shape entirely and allow to cool.
- Once cool, set out 12 cake cases into a muffin tin and spoon a couple of tablsepoonfuls of apple mixture into the base of each one - you really just want a single even layer in each. Any leftovers will be used later so no panic to use it all up.
- Now make the cake batter by whipping up the butter on its own before adding the sugar for another whisk, followed by the eggs and finally the flour and milk. As usual, whisk as much as you like (in fact, the longer the better) up to and including the addition of the eggs, but only whisk in the flour and milk until they are just combined with everything else. Spoon the finished batter into the cupcake cases on top of the apple, to come just underneath the top of the cases. If you have too much batter, you can always fill more cases after the initial 12 have baked.
- Bake in the oven at 160c fan for 15 minutes or so, or until risen, golden and springy to the touch, then remove from the oven to cool.
- While those are baking, you can get to work on the icing and crumble. For the icing, combine all the ingredients together and whisk together in a bowl, adding in any leftover apples you have. If there aren't any, cinnamon icing is just as good, but if you have any leftover apple mixture it'll add a little more interest.
- When the cakes are cool, remove from the tray and spread with a relatively thin but even layer of the icing. It's up to you how much you want to use, but if you go too thick the end result could be a little too sweet and cloying. If the cakes are a little greasy in the tin, place them all on kitchen towel as you're icing them to soak up the excess.
- In another bowl, rub together the butter, sugar, flour and cinnamon to make your crumble mixture - the mixture should resemble largeish breadcrumbs of varying sizes.
- Spread this out on a baking tray and put in the oven until the crumble is golden and toasty.
- Let that cool and then sprinkle over the iced cakes.
- And voila, you have a batch of delicious autumnal goodness to share with whoever you like, or keep all for yourself.
If you liked this recipe, why not try our Chocolate Orange Bonfire Night Cupcakes or Coconut and Jam Cupcakes for Halloween?
Now, I am not one for semantics but was in a bit of a pickle as to whether this pork and cider stew with sage dumplings really was a stew, or whether it would be better classified as a casserole which then led me to looking on the internet for a definitive distinction between the two and abruptly stopped when I saw Marco Pierre White said “there’s no bloody difference at all!”. I went with stew because what sort of a monster has dumplings with a casserole?!
Pork and cider is such a classic combination but I was slightly worried about it being a bit too sweet in stew form so added the mustard to calm it down. The amount used just rounded the edges off the sweetness without adding any kick. You could certainly add more mustard if you wanted to have a spicier taste.
We are slowly getting into a routine here at Blunty’s, but there has been call for many late night suppers recently, which means preparing ahead but also making sure we’re eating well in a way that warms us from the inside out. We’re still battling to stop the heating being turned on!
These quantities served two for supper and then a little lunch each the next day.
Pork and Cider Stew with Sage Dumplings
- 4 pork shoulder steaks (diced)
- 1.5 cans cider
- 2 onions cut in strips
- 5 or 6 mushrooms
- 1 tbsp rosemary
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 grated garlic clove (or squeeze of garlic paste)
- 1 large tbsp Dijon mustard
- Olive oil for frying
- 80g vegetable suet
- 160g self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp sage
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp salt
- some cold water
- A beaten egg
- Heat a casserole pot as high as the hob will allow and aggressively brown the diced pork, you want to add colour without cooking the pork through or it won’t be as tender at the end. I did this in 4 batches, deglazing the pan with cider between batches and then pouring in over the resting pork.
- Throw the onions into the pot) and give them a decent amount of colour before pouring in the cider and all other ingredients (except mushrooms).
- Add the browned pork and pop it into a 130° oven with the lid on for 2 hours. Checking every so often to adjust flavour etc. and add more cider if need to (provided you haven’t polished off the can!).
- While the stew is slowly cooking combine the flour, salt, suet and herbs and slowly add the water a bit at a time. you don’t want to over-work it and leave it so you can still see grains of suet but it is a soft dough. - You want to let the dumpling mixture rest for half an hour before using it.
- When you are 30 minutes from serving time add the mushrooms and Roll the dumpling mix into balls and gently place them on top of the stew, try to avoid them sinking down too low, also given them plenty of space to expand, giving them a light egg wash to help them go golden and put the stew back in the oven at a temperature of 180° for the last 30 minutes.
If you liked this stew, why not try some of our other winter warmers such as this Chicken and Chorizo Cassoulet or this simple Coq au Vin?
It’s that time of year again when the Terry’s Chocolate Orange is appearing everywhere, so when Charles asked me to make pudding for supper with a family friend recently this chocolate orange cheesecake came to mind. So many chocolate orange cheesecake recipes around these days focus on the Terry’s Chocolate Orange as an ingredient, but any of the milk chocolate ones we’ve had recently have been pretty disappointing, and if you want a decent chocolate flavour after introducing cream and cream cheese, I’m convinced the inclusion of some proper chocolate is in order. And fresh orange zest, of course.
This recipe is so simple and delicious – a real crowd pleaser, and with no need to mess about with the oven, it’s a great one to make with kids. Add some extra decor if it’s a really special occasion, or just serve it up with some orange slices (ours were marinated in dark rum) and cream or ice cream and let the taste speak for itself. If you don’t like the chocolate orange flavour, you can easily leave out the orange zest and have a plain chocolate cheesecake instead.
If you liked this cheesecake, why not give our Baileys Cheesecake a whirl, or if you prefer your chocolate orange in cake form, why not try these Chocolate Orange Cupcakes?