Pumpkin & Spice Cupcakes

Hints of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice combine beautifully with the natural sweetness of roasted pumpkin and, when topped with a light and airy cream cheese icing, make these the Autumnal cupcakes of my dreams. Try and stop at one!

Note: it is best to make the pumpkin puree the day before.

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Ingredients (makes 12)
½ a butternut pumpkin (approx. 550g)
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
225g full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
115g butter, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

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Method

To make the pumpkin puree, preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Peel and de-seed the pumpkin and cut into 3cm pieces. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until pumpkin is golden and tender. Once cooled, blitz in a blender until silky and smooth. Refrigerate until required.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and spices together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir with a silicone spatula until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 patty pans. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes bounce back when touched. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack.

To make the icing, add the cream cheese and butter to a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla, cinnamon and icing sugar and beat on low speed until just combined. Switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and airy. If the icing is too runny, add extra icing sugar.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a large star piping tip (I use Wilton 1M). Ice the cupcakes in a circular motion from the outside in for a softserve look. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from ‘Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting’ from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Apple Pie

This cheat’s apple pie uses pre-made pastry which allows you to spend more time decorating. I used pink lady apples because that’s what we had in the house, but it would work well with granny smith apples instead (but you may want to add in a little more sugar). Happy baking!

Ingredients (serves 8)
5 medium apples peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
½ cup water
¼ cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons lemon rind
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method

Grease a 25cm pie dish. Preheat oven to 180°C. 

Peel, core and chop your apples. Place the apples and the water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 6-7 minutes or until the apples soften. Drain all water. Stir in sugar, lemon rind and cinnamon.

Line pie dish with pastry (you may need to join 2 pieces together) and prick the bottom with a fork. Top with baking paper and pie weights or rice and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove the pie weights and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, use the offcuts from the first 2 pieces of pastry to cut out leaves and flowers using cookie cutters.

Using the third piece of pastry, cut 6 thin strips, 2 thick strips and 6 very thin strips (to form 2 braids). Use the excess pastry to cut more leaves and flowers.

Spoon the apple mixture into the cooled pie base. Top with pastry strips and braids in a woven lattice design. Use the pastry leaves and flowers to decorate the edges. Gently brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp. Serve with cream or ice-cream. Enjoy!

Adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Apple Pie’.

Apple Streusel Muffins

We’ve had an abundance of delicious apples this season and so I wanted a recipe to showcase them, preferably in an easily portable package so we can take them to uni and work for lunches this week. These muffins fitted the bill perfectly, and smelled absolutely divine while baking. I love the crispy streusel topping as a contrast to the soft apple and fine crumb of the muffins.

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Ingredients (makes 12-14)
Streusel Topping
⅓ cup self-raising flour
⅓ cup plain white flour
⅓ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
80g cold butter, chopped coarsely

40g butter
3 large apples, peeled, cut into 1cm pieces
2 cups self-raising flour
½ teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅔ cup caster sugar
80g butter, melted, extra
¾ cup buttermilk
1 egg

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Method
Make streusel topping by processing flours, sugar and cinnamon. Add butter and process until combined. Roll dough into a ball, wrap in glad-wrap and freeze until required.

Melt butter in a large frying pan; cook apple, stirring about 5mins or until lightly browned. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring for an additional 5mins or until the mixture thickens.

Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with patty pans.

Sift flour, spices and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the combined, extra butter, buttermilk and egg. Do not overmix. Stir in half the apple mixture.

Divide mixture among patty pans. Top with remaining apple mixture. Coarsely grate streusel topping over muffin mixture. Bake ~20mins.

Stand muffins in tray for 5mins before turning out, top-side up, onto wire racks to cool. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Little Pies and Cakes’ cookbook.

Rhubarb & Cinnamon Muffins

These are some of my favourite muffins and one of the most delicious ways to use rhubarb. The combination of the tart rhubarb and buttermilk with the crunchy sugar and cinnamon crust is a match made in heaven. Try them warm out of the oven and try and stop at one!

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Ingredients (makes 16)
For the rhubarb mixture
1 bunch rhubarb, washed, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar

For the muffins
1 cup rhubarb mixture
1 ¼ cups plain flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup buttermilk
¾ cup olive oil
1 egg

For the sugar-cinnamon crust
⅓ cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

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Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line muffin tins with 16 patty pans.

Chop rhubarb into small, even pieces and cook with water and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the rhubarb is tender and the sugar has dissolved. Stand for 5 minutes to cool.

Add flour, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Carefully pour in the buttermilk, olive oil and egg and gently stir to combine. Mix in the cooked rhubarb, being careful not to over-stir (note: the mixture is supposed to be very wet, don’t worry!)

Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cases & top with mixed sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Top with extra stewed rhubarb and cream if desired. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Grandma