5 Nov 2007

‘Tipsy Blackberry & Apple Cupcakes’
‘Jane Asher Home Baker of the Year 2007

Linda has kindly accepted my invitation to write a 'Guest Posting' for my foodblog. I know that you will enjoy reading all about her very exciting day when she entered the above competition. Her cupcakes look amazing and I couldn't resist asking if she would share this wonderful day, photographs and recipe with us. A truly deserved winner!

Margaret has kindly invited me to do a Guest Posting as I have recently had the great honour of being crowned ‘The Jane Asher Home Baker of the Year Competition 2007'.

I entered the competition online (3 hours before the competition closed). I love creating new recipes and wanted to come up with something that was seasonal, tasty & original.

After an overnight stay at a smart London hotel, hubby, myself and the four other finalists & guests were whisked away to the Good Housekeeping Institute in London for the bake-off. Meeting everyone involved was very exciting - though waiting to start was quite nerve-wracking as I was unsure about using a different oven. As soon as I started baking the nerves melted away, the oven was nowhere near as fierce as mine so I had to whack the temperature up. The judges including Jane Asher & Chef Brian Turner chatted to us whilst we were adding the finishing touches to our recipes. Our cakes were then whisked away to be judged. We then relaxed with our guests & journalists whilst enjoying a lovely champagne buffet. Soon after, we were ushered into the judging room and Jane & each judge spoke about each recipe. When Jane announced my name as the winner I nearly fell over as the competition was very stiff indeed - all the other cakes were truly delicious. My husband’s face was a picture - he was so proud of me. I was literally speechless, overwhelmed & thoroughly chuffed to have won. Along with the title of Home Baker my other prizes were fantastic also. Lots of Jane Asher bake ware, her new book (signed), kitchen textiles, beautiful ceramics & a luxury spa break at the Westin Turnberry Hotel in Scotland. Oh! and a beautiful engraved silver trophy (I get to keep for a year).

I have since appeared in local press, radio (BBC) & television (ITV Anglia) & national magazines. Hubby & I have even been immortalized in a hilarious cartoon in my local Gazette newspaper. I am launching a cookery business in April next year and will make great use of my prizes. I would urge anybody who enjoys baking to enter next year’s competition at www.homebake.co.uk (dates for next year to be announced). Believe me if I can win anyone can. Here’s my recipe if you’d like to give it a go sometime (though it’s a little late for fresh blackberries just now).

‘Tipsy blackberry & apple cupcakes’
Ingredients for cupcakes

225 grams unsalted butter (room temperature)
215 grams golden caster sugar
225 grams self raising flour
4 large free range eggs (very lightly beaten)
1 teaspoon Madagascan vanilla extract
1 – 2 tablespoons milk
2 crisp granny smith apples
large shot of ‘sour apple liqueur’ (Luxardo) or use calvados brandy for an even ‘tipsier’ flavour
10-20 grams golden caster sugar (to taste)

filling & topping
500 - 600ml fresh double cream
300 grams fresh blackberries (reserve 12 blackberries to top cupcakes)
splosh of ‘sour apple liqueur’
10-20 grams caster sugar (to taste – depending on tartness of berries)

You will need a sturdy 12 bun muffin tin lined with 12 muffin cases & a large piping bag with a 15ml plain round nozzle.

For best results make sure the baking ingredients are at room temperature and try not over beat mixture once eggs & flour are added.


1. preheat oven to 170-180, gas mark 4 (fan assist 150-160 depending on oven – mine is very fierce so that’s why it seems low temp, adjust accordingly ).
2. peel, chop & gently cook apples, sugar & ‘sour apple liqueur’ in a small covered pan (until very slightly soft). Strain apple and put to one side to cool. Reserve all the lovely apple liquid, as this will be added to whipped cream when cooled.
3. using the same pan put the fresh blackberries, sugar (to taste) & a splosh of ‘sour apple liqueur & cook until ‘jammy’. Leave to cool.
4. in a separate bowl cream butter with wooden spoon adding sugar & vanilla extract beat until light & fluffy.
5. gently mix in the beaten egg & fold sifted flour with a metal spoon.
6. fold cooled apple pieces into cake mixture & add a tablespoon or so of milk if required to ‘slight dropping consistency’ but not too much or apples won’t ‘hold’.
7. using a metal ice cream scoop, spoon mixture into the 12 muffin cases & fill until three quarters full.
8. cook on the middle shelf for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Test with skewer. Remove tray from oven & leave for a few minutes. Transfer cupcakes onto wire tray to cool completely.
9. cut out a teaspoon sized piece from top centre of cooled cupcake using a serrated knife. Add a teaspoon of ‘fresh blackberry jam’ into the centre.
10. start to whip the cream (add the reserved ‘apple liquid’ as just as cream begins to thicken). Whisk into soft peaks & just firm enough to pipe. Fill piping bag with cream mixture. Pipe the cupcake with the cream and top with a fresh blackberry.

The cupcakes are best eaten fresh soon after baking. If refrigerated the sponge will become quite ‘dense’ in texture but will still be tasty. © Linda Edmonds Aug 2007