These toffee apple cupcakes are the perfect autumnal bake but would be delicious at any time of year.
In this cupcake recipe we added cooked apples, cinnamon and ground clove to the batter to make a moist sponge that has all the comforting flavours of a classic crumble. Each cupcake is 444 calories but you could omit the buttercream for a lighter afternoon treat.
- 2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and diced
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g light brown sugar
- 150g butter, softened
- 140g self-raising flour
- 10g cornflour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves (optional)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
For the topping:
- 250g granulated sugar
- Groundnut or vegetable oil
- 300ml double cream
- 4 tbsp Dulce de leche sauce (available from most supermarkets)
- Put the apples into a pan with caster sugar, the lemon zest and juice, and the vanilla extract. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the apples are soft. Drain the liquid away and mash the apples with a fork until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Heat the oven to 160C (140C fan, Gas 3). Line a baking tray with paper cases.
- Beat the light brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
- Sift the flour, cornflour, cinnamon, ground cloves and baking powder together. Add 1 egg to the butter and sugar with ⅓ of the flour mix and beat until just combined. Repeat until all the ingredients are combined.
- Slowly fold in the cooled apples until evenly throughout the mixture.
- Divide the batter between the 12 cases and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove and cool on the tray for 10 minutes, transferring the cupcakes to a wire cooling rack.
- To make the sugar decorations, put the granulated sugar into a non-stick saucepan. Watching it melt from the outside in, swirl the pan so as to melt the sugar in the centre of the pan. When it’s melted and the colour of golden syrup, remove from the heat.
- Dab a little groundnut or vegetable oil on the back of an ice cream scoop, take a small spoonful of the melted sugar and drizzle over the ice cream scoop. Wait a few seconds for the sugar to cool and then pop the basket off. Keep the baskets on something non-stick or in an airtight container. Repeat until you have 12, greasing the scoop each time.
- For the toffee cream, pour the double cream into a large bowl and add 4 tbsp of Dulce de leche. With an electric whisk, beat until you have a piping consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
- When the cakes are cool, pipe a swirl onto each cupcake and top with a sugar basket decoration.
Top tips for making toffee apple cupcakes
Be careful when making the sugar baskets as this sugar is extremely hot. If you find the sugar becomes too stiff, pop it back on the heat for a few seconds to melt it again. If you prefer, you could decorate with a slice of dried apple and an extra drizzle of dulce de leche.
How long will spun sugar baskets last?
Properly stored the spun sugar baskets can last a few days, but it's better to make them fresh and use them as quickly as possible, as they are delicate and can spoil easily in the wrong conditions. Store them in an airtight tub container and do not let them touch each other as they will stick. They will also stick to a plate or parchment paper.
How do you stop spun sugar baskets from melting?
If your room is too hot or humid these sugar baskets will turn white or sticky and start to melt. Keep them in a cool dry place until you're ready to serve them.
What is the British term for candy apples?
Candy apples are known as toffee apples in the UK. They are a popular treat during the autumn months and are often enjoyed around Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night. They are usually made from apples covered in a hard caramel coating. These cupcakes replicate the flavours of the popular treat.
We recommend using an ice cream scoop to portion your cupcake batter evenly between the paper cases. Plus it’s the perfect shape if you want to make the sugar baskets. We like this one from OXO.
OXO Good Grips Classic Swipe Ice Cream Scoop - View at Amazon
There is a lever on this ice cream scoop which releases the ice cream from the scoop. All you have to do is squeeze the lever and it swipes around the scoop to push the ingredients out. This is useful when portioning the cupcake batter too. It is dishwasher safe and has a comfortable handle.