Ever since I started using small glass bowls to bake chiffon cupcakes, I wanted to bake cupcakes that are apple shaped. It took me quite a few weeks of day dreaming on and off before I came up with this version of apple look-alike cupcakes that are bursting with flavor :).
I took my time to prepare for this bake by making the applesauce from scratch and bottling them up, and soaking, cutting and oven-drying the cinnamon sticks (as apple stems). Here's two bottles worth of applesauce (Yes, I know it looks like Kaya!). One for me and one for Susanne :).
4 apples, peeled and cubed (Preferably the tart types like Granny Smith or Rose apples. I used up the super-sweet Gala apples that I have at home and the applesauce turned out sweeter than I like.)
50g caster sugar (more or less according to your taste)
1/2-1 tsp of Cinnamon powder
1/8 tsp Allspice
1 tsp lemon juice (omit if you use really tart apples)
1. Use a blender to blend the cubed apples.
2. Cook the apple puree together with the rest of the ingredients over low heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Cool down to room temperature before using it or storing in the fridge/ freezer.
Soak the cinnamon sticks in hot water for about 15 minutes before attempting to split them longitudinally with a knife. Cut them into thin strips that resemble apple stems. Dry them at about 100 degrees Celsius for half an hour in the oven.
I was curious about the effect of having more wet ingredients and flour in the recipe so I decided to adapt from this recipe:
Ingredients (Makes 6-8 "apples"):
Egg yolk batter
2 egg yolks
17g caster sugar
30g Canola oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
40g raspberry puree (Press fresh or frozen-thawed raspberries through a sieve and discard the seeds.)
(C) (Sifted together)
68g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Red, yellow and brown gel food coloring (Optional)
3 egg whites
50g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1. Prepare (A) by whisking together egg yolks and sugar until it turns pale. Add canola oil, cinnamon powder, salt and vanilla essence and whisk until well combined.
2. Divide the above into 2 equal portions and add applesauce into one portion and raspberry puree into the other. Whisk until well combined.
3. Divide the flour mixture (C) into 2 equal portions and gradually add into each batter, whisking until no trace of flour is seen.
4. You may add food coloring to the yellow (applesauce) and red (raspberry) batters for more realistic looking "apples". Add a small drop of yellow coloring into the yellow batter. Add a small drop of yellow and brown into the red batter, followed by some red coloring until a desired shade is reached. Take note that the colors will lighten up when the meringue is added in.
5. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
6. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batters one third at a time. Here's how the batters look like:
9. Create a marble effect that mimics the streaks on the apple surface by using a chopstick. Dip one end of the chopstick into the center of the bowl until it touches the bottom and then draw a line radially outwards following the curvature of the bowl. You can actually see the marbling effect from the outside of the bowl. Rotate the bowl and repeat this until you have completed one round. You may wish to slide the chopstick radially towards the center of the circle instead of outwards sometimes to create a more natural streaky pattern. Clean the chopstick before proceeding with the next bowl.
10. Bake in preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes followed by 150 degrees Celsius for another 15 minutes. Immediately invert the bowls if you are able to onto a cooling rack (I used a roasting pan). I had leftover batter and not enough bowls so I poured some into metal jelly molds.
12. Use the blunt end of a chopstick to make an indent in the center of the apple. Insert a cinnamon stick into the indent as the apple stem. You may want to pinch in the bottom of the "apples" if it flares outwards too much. Place the cakes on paper cupcake liners and you are done :).
Here's a peek at the inside of an "apple"...
Rather dense because it is overloaded with stuff but very moist and soft. Not the kind of chiffon texture that I am used to :P. If I ever attempt this again, I think I will stick to the proportion of ingredients that I am used to with maybe a slight increase in proportion of applesauce/ raspberry puree. My elder kid prefers this to regular chiffon texture. My younger one just likes anything sweet :P.