, , , , , , , ,

Another off the list! I love figs and apples, but combined together in a cupcake? Seems unusual but I was dying to test this flavour pairing out. Moist vanilla bean buttermilk cupcakes were filled with a fresh apple-fig compote, buried in the batter before baking. While the cupcakes were cooling, I got to work on the frosting – a satiny, light and not-too-sweet swiss meringue buttercream flecked with tiny specks of Madagascar vanilla and a touch of cinnamon. Apart from my absolute favourite cream cheese frosting, this sure is one of my most loved cupcake frosting of all time. It delivers a luscious and silky mouthfeel that’s most importantly, stable enough to hold up in our sweltering heat and humid weather. No doubt this takes quite abit of work to make (from the meringue to the seemingly endless process of whipping it where it turns from a soupy, curdled mess to a billowy cloud of frosting), but the efforts are always worth it. Finally, the frosted cupcakes were garnished with a little slice of dried fig and a spiced caramel drizzle.
Despite being one of the most complicated, multi-component cupcakes I’ve done so far (cupcake base, fruit compote filling, frosting and caramel drizzle), I was surprised that it didn’t take as much time as anticipated. Here you go, another original cupcake creation – the Fig & Apple. I’m super excited the share this recipe. Do try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

The Fig & Apple Cupcake
Easily one of my favourite original cupcakes creations that I will definitely bake again and again.

Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cupcakes
Light and moist, with a delicately crumbed interior. Never cloying or greasy. My to-go vanilla cupcake recipe but with buttermilk this time!
200g organic unbleached flour
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
pinch of sea salt
150g unrefined cane sugar
100g French butter, at room temp
2 free-range organic eggs
1 t Madagascar vanilla paste (I used Nielsen-Massey)
1/2 C buttermilk

Butter, sugar and vanilla goes into the mixer and is beaten until light and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Sift in the dry ingredients and pour all the buttermilk in. Mix on low, to combine. Very simple, works like a charm everytime.

Fig & Apple Compote
this compote is quite tart, fruity and not-too-sweet. feel free to up add more sugar to taste.
1 large granny smith apple (I like the tart and crisp kind)
3-4 figs, fresh or dried
4 T fresh orange juice
2 T organic dark brown sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg to taste
a splash of brandy

Dice the apple and figs into tiny cubes. No large chunky pieces here, but substantial enough to provide some bite. Toss the fruits in the orange juice, brown sugar and add spices to taste. Heat over medium low flame. Cook the compote until the sauce thickens slightly and the fruits tender. I like to add a splash of brandy at the end.

To bake:
Using an ice-cream scoop, divide the batter between 12 cupcakes liners. Drop a tablespoon or more of the compote into the middle of the batter. I use a chopstick to lightly cover the compote. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C until done, about 20 minutes.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
2 organic egg whites
80g unrefined golden cane sugar (this gave me a pale caramel coloured frosting)
120g unsalted French butter, cubed and at room temp
1 t Madagascar vanilla paste

Make a swiss meringue by whisking the egg whites and sugar over a bain marie until the mixture reaches 60C. Whisk constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Whip the meringue on high to allow it to cool completely. When the meringue has cooled and become thick, glossy and stiff, add in the butter slowly. The meringue will start to break down and look soupy, a far cry for the luscious thick frosting from your imagination (THIS IS NORMAL, DO NOT FREAK OUT OR PANIC) Continue whipping the until it becomes all silky, glossy and thick again. (**This might seem to take forever, but trust me it WILL come back smooth) Lastly, when it is all smooth, silky and billowy, time to add in the flavourings. I used pure vanilla paste here, with a rich flavour and tiny vanilla seeds.

Spiced Caramel Drizzle
warm, earthy and rich caramel sauce. this makes a really small batch, just enough to drizzle over the tops of the cupcakes
1 T French butter (I used demi-sel, or slightly salted here)
3 T organic dark brown sugar
3 T whole milk
a pinch of spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

Sugar goes into a deep saucepan to caramelise over low heat. When it has darken to a light amber, turn of the flame, pour in the milk and stir in the butter. Return to heat and cook until it reaches a thick consistency. Stir in the ground spices.