Tuesday 16 September 2014

Apple Strawberry Chiffon Cupcake 'Apples'

After a couple of months busy with requests for cakes, mooncakes or cookies, I finally have a week free! Yay! Time to bake things on my to-bake list that have been sitting there for a long time! Ever since my first attempt at making apple look-alike cupcakes half a year ago, I have been contemplating trying them again with a different recipe that is less dense, more chiffon-like.

Can you tell which is real and which are cakes?

Now that I am more aware of other natural coloring options, I tried using a combination of them with a pinch of artificial red to achieve vibrant red apples. These are pretty quick and easy to make if you are making a small batch. Baking these in large quantities for parties would require a few rounds of baking as some "art and craft" with batter is required.

The recipe is adapted from any generic chiffon cake recipe with a flour to liquid ratio of about 65%.

Ingredients (makes about 6-8 cupcakes):
Egg yolk batter
2 egg yolks (65g eggs with shell on)
15g caster sugar
28g canola oil (or any vegetable oil)
34g applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinammon powder
A pinch of salt
40g cake flour

Food coloring/ flavoring*
1/2 tsp strawberry paste
1/2 tsp beetroot powder
1/4 tsp red yeast powder
1/8 tsp red color powder
Yellow gel food coloring

3 egg whites
45g caster sugar
1/5 tsp cream of tartar

1. Prepare the applesauce or you can use store bought ones. I made mine ahead of time for another bake. As it was quite coarse, I had to sieve it first. If you prefer bits of apple in your cake you can skip the sieving. The recipe for applesauce can be found here.

2. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place 6-8 round-bottomed glass bowls (8.5cm in diameter, 6.5cm in height) on a tray.

3. Make the egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until it turns pale and sugar has dissolved. Add oil and whisk until thick and well combined. Add applesauce and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined. Gradually add in sifted flour, salt and cinnamon powder and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

4. Divide the egg yolk batter into 2 portions. Add a tiny dip of yellow gel coloring into one. Add strawberry paste, beetroot powder, red yeast powder and red powder into the other. Mix well. *If it is difficult for you to get natural food colouring or any of the above coloring ingredients, just use whatever you have to achieve a desired dark shade of red.

5. Prepare the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and the bowl can be overturned without the meringue falling out. Gently but quickly fold in the meringue into each egg yolk batter in 3 additions using a spatula.

6. Fill the glass bowls in the following manner:

Begin with a teaspoonful of yellow batter at the bottom of the bowl. Add a teaspoonful of red batter on the left and right side of the dollop of yellow batter. Add a teaspoonful of yellow batter at the top and bottom of the dollop of batter. Spoon red batter around circumference of bowl and fill the middle with yellow batter. Fill the bowls until about 1/2-2/3 full.

7.  Dip a chopstick into the centre of the bowl and drag it radially outwards to create the pattern of the apple skin. Repeat until you have completed one round of the bowl. Drag the chopstick down towards the centre sometimes to create a more natural look. You can observe the marbling effect by looking through the glass bowl. Clean the chopstick before proceeding to the next bowl. Try to work quickly to prevent the egg whites from breaking down too much.

8. Bake at 160°C for 15 minutes followed by 150°C for 10-15 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Immediately invert onto cooling rack. If your cakes rise above the rim, cool upright first until they shrink below the rim, then invert to cool.

9. Carefully unmould by hand and place cake onto paper cupcake holders. Gently press the tops of the cakes down a little at the centre with your finger or a chopstick. You may want to pinch in the base of the cakes so that it doesn't flare out so much.

Insert a piece of cinnamon stick in the middle and you are done! Remember to store the cakes in airtight containers to prevent them from drying out if you are not consuming them immediately.

Update: my neighbour whom I gave the "apples" to said that the cakes were moist and soft :).

This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up event organized by Bake For Happy Kids with My Little Favourite DIY & hosted this month by  I-Lost in Austen.

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. Awesome! At a glance I thought all three are red apples. Brilliant!

  2. Hi Phay Shing ! Yes they looked like real apples hee hee ! Brilliant!

    1. Thanks Karen! Agree they look more real than my first attempt. I had to use a bit more artificial coloring back then and it still ended up more pink. Quite glad to get a nice darker shade with less artificial coloring this time :).

  3. Wow, Phay Shing!

    I'm impressed! Your apple looking cakes really look like apples :D


  4. OH WOW! I thought these were real apples! AMAZING! Looks perfect & what a fabulous idea ! Simply AWESOME! Thanks for sharing with LTU ;)

    1. Thanks Kit :) Thanks for hosting this month's ltu!

  5. It looks alike red apples. I thought it is real apples too. Thumbs up to you!

  6. Phay Shing, another great chiffon creation from you! It looks really like the real apple, you have impressed me again!

  7. Hi Phay Shing, where can I find red yeast n beetroot powder? Thks
    Impressed cannot wait to try.

    1. Hi Jasmine, Phoon Huat used to sell red yeast powder but now it's harder to find. I use about 1/8 tsp now as it does deflate the batter a little, kind of like normal cocoa powder (non dutch processed cocoa). Adding it gives a deeper hue to the red colour. Beetroot powder may be found at health food shops or you may purchase online from iherb.

  8. May I know where to find round bottom glass bowls? Thank you!