Years ago I made Nigella’s delicious Apple and Cinnamon muffins, which have a sugar, cinnamon and almond topping. With time to spare in lockdown I had an urge to make them again but I wanted something less sweet as Nigella’s recipe has 250g of sugar (half honey, half sugar) plus another 4 teaspoons. The BBC Good Food website has a basic apple and sultana muffin recipe that has 100g of sugar in total (not counting the sugar in the apples, milk, etc) but the muffins look a little unglamorous so I’ve borrowed Nigella’s topping and now I have my perfect apple muffin.
I’m not anti-sugar but we’re a household of two and if we’re going to make our way through six muffins over the course of a few days (I freeze the remaining six) I try to be mindful about the sugar. We often eat muffins with custard for dessert (Bird’s custard, more on this in a minute) so there’s sugar to take into account there, too.
Bird’s Custard Powder! I always have this cheerful tin in my cupboard because we’re custard fiends and I like knowing that I can have custard whenever I fancy. It turns almost any muffin or cake into a great dessert and because it’s powdered I can easily make smaller quantities, choose how much sugar to add and use different kinds of milk. I find it more economical than cans or cartons and I know it doesn’t compare to fresh, vanilla-flecked, egg-yolk-rich, fancy custard but it can’t be beaten for convenience, flexibility and nostalgia.
The original recipe advises grating the apples but cubing them makes the texture of the muffin much more interesting.
BBC Good Food and Harry for the tip about cubing the apples.
- 200g self-raising flour
- 50g wholemeal flour (I used wholemeal bread flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (I use a level teaspoon. Use more if you want a stronger flavour)
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125ml semi-skimmed milk
- 4 tbsp flavourless oil (such as light olive oil or sunflower oil)
- 2 apples, cored and cut into 1cm cubes
- 100g sultanas
- 1 tsp demerara or brown sugar
- small handful of flaked almonds (or whole almonds, chopped)
- Heat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- Add 200g of self-raising flour, 50g of wholemeal flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 100g of golden caster sugar to a large bowl and stir.
- In another bowl or jug, add 2 eggs, 125ml of milk and 4 tablespoons of oil. Whisk well then pour into the dry ingredients along with 2 cubed apples and 100g of sultanas. Stir to combine the ingredients and take care not to over-mix.
- Divide the batter into the muffin tin and top each muffin with a small sprinkling of demerara sugar and a few flaked or chopped almonds. Bake for 25 minutes until golden on top. A cake tester should come out clean. Leave to cool for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.