I’ll be completely honest, a few weeks ago I thought spring had well and truly sprung and was all for leaving heady spices and warming bakes behind me in the depths of winter… That being said, Doris terrorised the UK last week, today I had to stop my car because I literally couldn’t see for hail, and yesterday I reluctantly packed away my denim jacket. You can probably see where I’m going with this- yep, warming spices and winter fruits are sticking around here for a little longer, today in the form of these deliciously moist apple and hazelnut muffins with zesty orange frosting and apple crisp toppers…
- 2 apples (diced)
- 2tsp cinnamon
- 150g soft butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1tsp vanilla
- 150g self raising flour
- 2-3tbsp milk
- 50g chopped hazelnuts (plus extra for decoration)
For the orange cream cheese frosting:
- 250g cream cheese
- 100g butter
- 500g icing sugar
- zest 1 orange
- 2-3tbsp milk
For the apple decoration (optional):
- 1 apple, thinly sliced (with a mandolin if you have one)
- 100g caster sugar
- Before you bake the cakes, you will need to make the apple crisp decorations (if required). For these, preheat the oven to 130c then dissolve the sugar into 100ml water in a saucepan, bring to the boil for 3 minutes and set aside to cool. Dip the apple slices into this syrup and allow the excess to drip off then arrange on a lined baking tray. Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours, turning occasionally. Once dried out, leave to harden on a rack.
- Now preheat the oven to 180c and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.
- Toss the diced apple in cinnamon and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well between each addition (add a spoonful of the flour too if you’re worried about curdling).
- Stir in the vanilla extract and sift over the flour. Fold, then mix in the milk to loosen and add the hazelnuts and apples, briefly mixing to distribute evenly. Fill each case (2/3 full) and bake for 20 minutes.
- Once the muffins are ready, cool in the tin while you make the cream cheese frosting.
- For the frosting, simply beat together the cream cheese, zest and butter until combined, then gradually add the icing sugar until you have a light, fluffy consistency. If you’d like to loosen the texture, just add the milk and beat.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cakes, sprinkle with some hazelnuts and top with the apple crisps.