Raisin and Apple cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream - The Sweet Rebellion
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Raisin and Apple cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream


14 June is International Cupcake Day, that’s right – an entire day dedicated to cupcakes! When I hear the word “cupcake”, the image that comes to mind is that of a classic vanilla cupcake topped with a huge swirl of pink icing, decorated generously with sprinkles. The perfect treat for any birthday party! 

However, in order to honour the humble cupcake I wanted to do something extra-special. What I really love about cupcakes is that you can remove a little of the centre and fill it up with any number of delicious fillings. Then, once the cupcake is iced, this filling is completely hidden and makes for a lovely surprise when one takes a bite! 

In keeping with the wintery weather, I opted for a fragrant filling made with dried fruits from Dried Fruit South Africa. I love the combination of sweet and juicy raisins, sultanas and dried apples especially when cooked with butter, brown sugar and spices. The raisins absorb some of the liquid and become extra juicy, and the dried apple pieces soften whilst still retaining their “bite”. I used brown sugar in the cupcake recipe which adds hint of caramel flavour that pairs so beautifully with the fruity filling.  To enhance the rich raisin and apple flavours, the cupcake is topped with a swirl of cinnamon buttercream (I prefer not to add too much as the saucy filling already adds a lovely pop of sweetness.)

So go on and up your cupcake game with a surprise fruity filling! You’ll never want an ordinary cupcake again!

(makes 12)

For the cupcakes:
125g butter, softened
200g brown sugar (1 cup)
5ml vanilla essence (1 tsp)
2 large eggs
210g flour (1½ cups)
5ml baking powder (1 tsp)
80ml milk (⅓ cup)

For the filling:
50g raisins
50g golden sultanas
50g dried apple pieces
30ml brown sugar (2 tbsp)
15ml butter (1 tbsp)
10ml flour (2 tsp)
5ml cinnamon (1 tsp)
5ml lemon juice (1 tsp)

165ml boiling water (⅔ cup)

For the buttercream:
200g unsalted butter
375g icing sugar, sifted (3 cups)
10ml cinnamon (2 tsp)
5ml vanilla (1 tsp)
30ml cream or milk (2 tbsp)


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  • Place the butter, brown sugar and vanilla essence in a large bowl. Beat together well for about 5 minutes using an electric or stand mixer.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix again.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together, then add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beating just until combined.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 cupcake cups, filling no more than ⅔ full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To make the filling, add all ingredients except the water to a small saucepan and mix well.
  • Pour over the boiling water and stir to combine. Place the saucepan on a low heat, and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring continuously until the mixture has thickened and the fruit has softened. Set aside to cool.
  • To make the buttercream, beat the butter until smooth. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and cream/milk, and mix until completely smooth and fluffy. Place in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
  • To assemble the cupcakes, use a sharp knife to cut out a hole in the centre of each cupcake (ensure the cupcakes are cool otherwise they may break apart). Use a teaspoon to fill up the hole with the raisin and apple filling, then pipe a generous swirl of buttercream on top.
  • The cupcakes are best served on the day you make them but can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Bring the cupcakes to room temperature before serving.

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