Saturday, 3 November 2012

Poison Caramel Apple Cupcakes

So here is the final batch of cakes I made for Halloween.  Inspired by a traditional Halloween sweet: caramel apples.  They are an apple and cinnamon sponge, with a caramel centre, a thin layer of caramel on top and then a layer of fondant painted to look like an apple.  I admit, I wasn't sure if anyone would like them, especially as the topping ended up being quite gooey and a bit messy.  But everyone who has eaten one really enjoyed them.  Of the ones I made for the trick-or-treaters, these are the fiancĂ©'s favourite.

The sponge for these cakes came from an American recipe, which was all measured in cups.  I also did my measuring in cups this time around because I was tired and did not want to convert them all. I will convert in the write-up though.

Recipe - adapted from Group Recipes
Makes about 15
  • 2-3 Granny Smith apples 
  • 260g/9oz plain flour
  • 100g/3.5oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 170g/6oz oil (I used rapeseed)
  • 60ml/2fl.oz apple juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 x 397g tin Carnation Caramel
  • 200g/7oz ready-to-roll icing
  • Red and green food colouring
  • Icing sugar 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12 hole and a 6 hole cake tin with 15 cupcake cases.
  2. Rinse and core the apples, put on a baking tray and put in the oven to cook until soft.  This takes about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove, allow to cool and then peel off the skin.  Do not turn off the oven.
  4. Put the remains in a bowl and mash them into a pulp with a fork.  Leave to one side to cool.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix together.
  6. Break the eggs in a separate bowl and beat.  Add the oil, apple juice, vanilla extract and cooled apple pulp and mix together.
  7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until everything comes together in a smooth batter.  
  8. Spoon into the cases, trying to spread the mixture evenly.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes, until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Leave on a wire rack to cool.
  11. Once cool, use an apple corer or a knife to make a hole in the centre of the cakes.  Be sure to keep the cores.
  12. Open the tin of caramel and put 3 tablespoonfuls into a small bowl.  Mix until smooth and runny.
  13. Fill the holes with the runny caramel and then remove the top of each core and use them to plug up the cakes.
  14. Using a knife or small spoon, spread a thin layer of caramel from the tin (where it won't be runny) over the top of each cake.
  15. Reserve a small part of the fondant icing for making leaves and stems.  Use the red food colouring to colour the rest of the fondant red.  The addition of colour will make it sticky so knead it in icing sugar to stop this from occurring.
  16. Break off some fondant and roll in out into a square that is bigger than one the cakes.
  17. Drape the fondant over the top and smooth down to the edge of the cake.
  18. Press your finger along the edge of the case to cut through the fondant for a smooth finish.  Gently make an indent in the centre of the fondant with your finger to give the illusion of the top of an apple.
  19. Using a clean paintbrush dipped in green food colouring, paint strips of colour from the centre of the cake to the edge.  Try to make your brush strokes as quick as possible to get the right texture.
  20. Use another paintbrush to do the same with the red food colouring.
  21. Colour the remaining food colouring with green food colouring (add a touch of red if you want a brown colour).  
  22. Break off small pieces and shape into stalks and gently push them into the indent in the middle of the cakes.
  23. Shape the rest into leaves, scrunching them slightly to make them look like they are dying.  Set atop the cakes, with one pointed end next to the stem.
  24. Leave the fondant to dry before putting them in a tin.

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