These apple and cinnamon cupcakes were actually made back in February - before I used the same recipe to make the Sheep Cupcakes for my friend’s hen weekend – I just haven’t gotten around to writing them up! These cupcakes were made for a visit to see my sister, brother-in-law and 18-month-old nephew. I wanted to make something fun and remembered having pinned monster cupcakes to my Cupcake Inspiration board on Pinterest.
I experimented with different piping nozzles for the buttercream – making spiky monsters with a small round nozzle, hairy monsters using a grass effect nozzle, and wiggly wormy-like monsters with a medium round nozzle. I chose purple and green buttercream to contrast, but you could make any colour monsters!
To decorate the cupcakes, I made circles out of white fondant icing for the eyes and mouths out of black fondant icing. I have this small cutter set, which has lots of basic shapes and is very useful! Making the teeth and sticking them on was quite fiddly – as they are tiny pieces of fondant – but worth the effort! The easiest way to make tiny triangles is to cut out stars using a star cutter, and the cut the triangles off each star. The tongues were made from fizzy belt sweets, cut with a pair of kitchen sweets and then inserted through the mouths – again a bit fiddly! The hair/antennae were simply made from strawberry pencil sweets, cut into short lengths. You could experiment with various different sweets for different hair-types / antennae.
If you wanted to make these cupcakes as a fun activity with kids, you could use white chocolate buttons for the eyes, teeth / lip / fang sweets for the mouths and various different types of sweets for the hair!
These cakes tasted fantastic, but the cake / icing didn’t really go with the strong taste of the sweets on top! If I were to make monster cupcakes again, I’d probably go for a simple vanilla cupcake, or a strawberry cupcake to go with the sweets!
Cinnamon cupcakes with apple puree and maple syrup buttercream
(makes 12 cupcakes and 4-6 mini cupcakes)
- 110g butter, at room temperature
- 225g golden castor sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 150g self-raising flour, sifted
- 125g plain flour, sifted
- 120ml semi-skimmed milk
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large / 3 small Bramley apples
- ½ - 1 tblsp soft brown sugar
- 115g butter, at room temperature
- 500g icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tblsp maple syrup
- 2 tblsp milk
- Food colouring
- Sweets (I used fizzy belt sweets and strawberry cables)
- White fondant icing
- Black fondant icing
- Black writing icing (optional)
- Red food colour pen (optional)
For the eyes and mouths (this can all be done in advance):
- Roll out a small amount of white fondant icing.
- Use various circle cutters to cut out different sized eyes.
- Use a star-shaped cutter to cut out several stars and then use a knife to cut these stars into small triangles for teeth.
- Cut out small rectangles for additional teeth.
- Roll out a small amount of black fondant icing.
- Use an oval cutter to cut out mouths and shape as desired.
- Use a paint brush dipped in a tiny amount of water to attach the teeth to the mouths.
- Use scissors to cut tongue shapes from the belt sweets.
- Cut small slits in the mouths and then push tongues through these.
- Use black writing icing or a black food colour pen to add pupils to the eyes.
For the cakes:
- Peel and chop the Bramley apples.
- Place the chopped apples in a saucepan with two tablespoons of water and half a tablespoon of soft brown sugar.
- Cook over a low heat until softened and mostly pureed ( a few small lumps is fine).
- Taste and add extra brown sugar as required.
- Place to one side to cool.
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (this will take at least 5 minutes with an electric hand /stand mixer – don’t rush this stage).
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition. It should result in a lovely light mousse-like mixture.
- Combine the two flours and the cinnamon in a separate bowl.
- Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a jug.
- Add one third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir gently to combine.
- Pour in one third of the milk mixture and stir gently.
- Continue to add flours and then milk mixture alternately, stirring gently after each addition, until all have been added.
- Spoon mixture into the cupcake cases, filling to about 2/3 full.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until lightly golden brown. The cakes will spring back lightly when touched, if cooked.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in tin for about 10 minutes, before carefully placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.
While the cakes are in the oven, make up the buttercream:
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, maple syrup and half of the icing sugar until smooth.
- Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Add milk (if needed to bring the buttercream to a piping consistency) and beat again.
- Put buttercream into a piping bag with a nozzle adaptor.
Once cakes are cooked and cooled:
- Use a tea spoon to cut a cone out from the centre of the cakes.
- Cut the top disk off each cone and retain.
- Fill the hole in each cake with a teaspoon of pureed apple and then replace a cake disk onto each cake to seal the hole.
- Pipe the butter cream onto the cakes using various nozzles.
- Add eyes, mouths and hair / antennae.