With the outbreak of COVID-19 causing a fair amount of panic, everyone seems to be spending a lot more time at home. Which is not a bad thing – isolation and social distancing are good ways to help prevent the spread and risk of infection. So, with everyone hauled up at home just so we can all stay a little bit healthier that leaves a lot of free time available. Things haven’t exactly been ideal since the Coronavirus hit South Africa. Everyone at work has been sent home, and the exam I needed for university that I was meant to write next Wednesday has been cancelled so I have a lot of time at home with not that much to do. Hence I decided to don my elaborately floral apron and bake a few things because who can say no to sweet stuff, and we need survival rations right?
I’ve always loved baking – it’s one of my favourite hobbies actually. Unfortunately, wanting to lose weight and constantly trying to cut back on unnecessary sugar and carbs mean that I don’t bake as often as I’d like to. Because the sad truth is that if you bake something, you’re most definitely going to want to enjoy eating it and I just couldn’t handle the pain of creating so many delicious treats only to stare at them while others scoff them down. However, given the circumstances, and the fact that I’ve had an urge to start trying to make more gourmet-style cupcakes I’ve decided that it is high-time to get baking again. So today, because of my desire to cook up something delicious, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do a step-by-step recipe demo blog. I really hope you’re all hungry, because today we’ll be making gingerbread cupcakes with a spiced apple filling and a cinnamon cream cheese icing. Sounds delicious – let’s see if it tastes as good.
P.S. I have doubled the recipe so that my rather large family (including my brothers that eat for five) has enough. That’s why it may look like there are more ingredients in the pictures than when you make it yourself.
For the cupcakes
- 115g unsalted softened butter
- 100g light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup of milk
- ½ cup molasses
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 167g all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
For the apple filling
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 apples, cored peeled and diced small
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp all purpose flour
For the frosting
- 560g icing sugar
- 230g of softened cream cheese
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2-5 tbsp heavy cream
*Quick tip. I like to set out all of my ingredients for the cupcakes, the filling and the frosting before I start baking. That way, I don’t have to go dashing around the kitchen in the middle of mixing up batter because I need flour or an egg. By setting things out, you know that you have everything ready for you when you need it at the exact right measurements.
- First, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. I like to use the top and bottom plus fan setting to allow for the most even distribution of heat but if you know your oven bakes cupcakes better on a different setting, go with that. Fill your muffin tins with the paper cupcake liners that you want to use.
- Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl together (aka the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves) and mix them together. Set this aside for later.
- In a large bowl using a wooden spoon, or in a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until it looks creamy. Next, beat in the egg until it’s combined. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl to assure everything is mixed evenly.
- Once that has all been mixed, pour in the milk, molasses and vanilla and mix on a medium speed if using the mixer. Otherwise mix together firmly. The batter may look not fully combined at this point but that’s okay.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients in with the wet. If using a mixer, put it on a low speed while slowly pouring the flour mix in. If you’re hand mixing, then pour in small amounts of the flour mixture in between mixing. Mix until the ingredients are just combined so you don’t over-beat anything and don’t forget to scrape down the sides and bottom as needed.
- Fill your cupcake liners with the batter so they are about 2/3’s full. The best trick I have ever learnt when it comes to baking cupcakes is to use an ice cream scoop. I don’t know how or why it took me so long to adopt this technique but once I did, I never looked back because it fills the liners perfectly. There is no hassle using a tablespoon to try guess the right amount. Simply drop an ice cream scoops worth of batter into each liner.
- Bake your cupcakes for 16-20 minutes, or until the tops become beautiful and golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Your cupcakes will need to cool completely once they come out the oven before you can stuff them and ice them so once they start baking, you can begin working on your filling.
- For the filling, mix the apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a smallish pan over a medium heat.
- Add the apple mixture and cook it, while stirring frequently so the apples or sugar don’t burn. Cook until the apples are tender and the liquid is bubbling. This takes about six minutes but that can vary so just judge it by the softness of your apples.
- Once the apples are nice and tender, add the flour and stir until the liquid thickens up. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool completely before using it.
- Now it’s time to make the sweet and super addictive cream cheese frosting. It’s one of my favourite types of icing because it isn’t super sweet like buttercream and it goes so well with so many flavours. Step one is to beat the softened cream cheese until it’s fluffy.
- Next, add in the vanilla, cinnamon and 2 tbsp of the heavy cream and mix it all up until it’s smooth.
- Slowly pour in the icing sugar (sift it before hand just to avoid any unnecessary lumps of sugar) and add the last tablespoons of heavy cream if you need a thinner icing.
- When the cupcakes have cooled, it’s time to add in your filling. Now certain fillings are okay to simply pipe into your cupcake but that’s a risky game to play … and you can’t exactly pipe apples into a cupcake. So, what I like to do for all my fillings is cut out part of the middle of my cupcake using an apple corer.
- Scoop some of your filling into each cupcake just enough so that it fills up the hole. Don’t put less otherwise you may not get enough of this scrumptious apple mix inside and don’t overfill because all that’s going to do is make icing more difficult.
- Spoon your icing into a piping bag and now is the time to let your artistic flair go nuts. You can do piping in so many different ways so simply pick the way that you find easiest or the one that you prefer.
- Once that’s done, it’s time for the best part of the whole process. It’s time to eat!! You’ve gone to all the effort to make such awesome cupcakes it is now time to enjoy the cupcakes of your labour. Enjoy with a cup of tea, a cup of coffee or something old school like a glass of milk. At the end of the day though, the point I’m trying to make is to enjoy it
And that’s that everyone! I know that I haven’t done a recipe before but the Valentine’s Day craft post came out so well and everyone seemed to enjoy it so I thought I’d take the same idea and do it a little differently. Anyway, I hope that you all enjoyed this blog post and I also hope it inspired you all to make these yourselves. If you do make them yourself, please let me know how they turn out! Also, let me know if you enjoyed the post and if there is anything else you’d like to see. Otherwise, I hope you all get to enjoy something delicious this weekend and don’t go crazy being at home.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx