As a kid, I liked my cake as plain as plain could be - no nuts, no fruits (fruitcake was a big no no), just plain sponge, chocolate or pandan if possible. I never could quite understand why my mum would want to add walnuts into a perfectly good sponge or why anyone would want to make cake out of carrots.
I'm thankful now that it was just a phase that I eventually grew out of. Nowadays, I love the added dimension that nuts or fruits give a cake, the different textures keeping each bite interesting. Still, I remember the days when mum would attempt to trick me into eating a coffee-walnut cake by downplaying the walnuts ("Just a little bit! You won't even notice they're there!") so when it came to deciding on what cupcakes to make, I thought that these would be fitting - an ode to those days and a salute to mum for trying (She did succeed, even if it was a somewhat delayed success).
I took the advice given in the last section of the book and toasted the walnuts before adding them into the batter and there's definitely a good reason for roasting or toasting the nuts first - a deeper, nuttier from the nuts and none of that raw or half-cooked aftertaste. Once again, I added less than half of the icing sugar that the recipe called for - I think it's safe to say that I'll be sticking to those proportions from now on. Taking heed from my experiment with the mini vanilla cupcakes, I let the cupcakes cook for 10 minutes and they came out of the oven as soft and light (although they didn't rise quite as much) as the vanilla cupcakes despite the added heaviness that I thought the apple and walnut bist would lend to it.
The slight tang of the cream cheese is the perfect complement to the sweet, cinammon-y sponge. Some of the bigger apple bits provide lovely little pockets of flavour and moisture while the nuts do a good job being, well, nutty.
Yes, I like. (My mum did, too).
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Previous stop on the trail: Vanilla Cupcakes