Apple ‘Donut’ Cakes with Honey and Brown Butter

April 22, 2010


It all started with spying a box of apples that have been sitting in my fridge for the past couple of weeks or so. You see, I don’t tend to receive many complimentary goodies from anyone but once in a blue moon, a random package would arrive on my doorstep unexpectedly. I love surprises and what I liked most of all about this, is the fact that it came with no strings attached and no pressure or requests to pay back any favour to the ‘senders’ and it didn’t even have a note to say who it was from (maybe they forgot to add the letter?).

IMG_6714 IMG_6719

A mysterious package: I’ll take it as a healthy hint :)

It seemed to be the month for anonymous gifts as recently in Easter, I also found bags and bags of mini chocolate eggs secretly delivered on my doorstep (I still don’t know where or who it came from to this day). In any case, this isn’t an advertorial plug, just a way to say a simple courteous thank you to all my mysterious bestowers.


So this particular random gift was a box of
Jazz Apples. A quick Google bash and I learnt that these Jazz babies are a cross breed of apples with the crunch and ‘sturdiness’ of Braeburn and the sweetness of Gala. I’m not really sure what to make of mutant fruits yet but admittedly, they were delicious. I love baking with apples but the autumn weather was too warm for the likes of pies, crumbles and my usual arsenal when it comes to fruity baking.

Like a donut but better… and minus deep frying!

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the nutty gorgeousness of brown butter (or beurre noisette) and thanks to one lovely
lady, I’ve also been harbouring a donut craving of the worst kind. Throw in a few more basic ingredients and before I knew it, I was measuring, guessing and praying that it’d work.



Enter awesome ‘donut’ cakes. A (thankfully) soft and moist apple, cinnamon, honey and brown butter cake rolled in cinnamon sugar. And you’d be pleased to know that this requires no mixer, no whisking and no vigorous stirring action. It was incredibly easy for a lazy day. And I’m thrilled to see that they turned out edible and were quickly devoured by the loved ones who wholeheartedly gave them the thumbs up.


Apple ‘Donut’ Cakes with Honey and Brown Butter


125g unsalted butter
190g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
85g brown sugar
85g honey
2 large eggs
2 medium to large apples, peeled and grated (I used Jazz but Granny Smith, Braeburn or Royal Gala will be fine)

110g caster sugar (or 1/2 cup)
1 tsp ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 180°C and lightly grease a 12 x 125ml capacity muffin tin. First measure the butter to get started on the beurre noisette.

To make brown butter / beurre noisette (this is the method that works for me)

Place butter in a stainless steel pot over medium heat to melt and cook. It’ll sizzle and make a lot of noise but that’s fine. Go ahead and continue with measuring other ingredients while the butter is cooking if you like.

As soon as the sizzling noise dies down, check on your butter. You’ll see it all foamy but pale. Immediately turn the heat down to low and simmer while gently stirring or swirling the pot until you see a bit of colour come through the foam. Immediately remove pot from heat and set aside.

The foam will subside and the butter will be a pale brown but the residue heat will be enough to brown it further without the risk of burning it. Your butter should be a golden colour (with brown sediment on the bottom) and smelling caramelly and nutty. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and set it aside to cool.

Sift flour and cinnamon into a large bowl and stir in the brown sugar until combined. Mix in the honey and eggs then add the cooled brown butter and stir to combine. Squeeze out excess moisture from grated apples and gently fold through the batter.

Divide amongst the muffin tin (batter shouldn’t come up higher than halfway) and bake for 15-17 minutes until golden and skewer comes out clean.

Mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon until completely combined in a bowl or shallow plate.

Immediately turn cakes out onto a wire rack and toss through the sugar and cinnamon mix to coat and cool cakes completely on wire rack.

If your cakes have cooled down too much the sugar isn’t going to stick so if you wish, you can brush the cakes lightly with lightly beaten egg white and then coat in the sugar and leave to dry and set on rack.

They’re best eaten on the day but cakes can be stored in an airtight container. The sugar will melt a bit in storage but a quick roll in more cinnamon sugar should return them to full donutty glory.


{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Vera - Cupcakes Garden October 17, 2012 at 00:58

Real piece of art! Beautiful images and perfect muffins! Great post!


Guia February 17, 2012 at 01:20

I love to try out your recipes.. I will definitely be here more often.. :)


Dotty May 28, 2010 at 08:13

Mmmm…. Making these later tonight! Yum!
Ps. Am in love with your blog.


Paula May 14, 2010 at 13:10

I absolutely love your recipes and now I`m going to read whole your amazing blog :)


joudiesmoodfood May 3, 2010 at 22:01

The pictures look amazing. This is one to make! I love apples and cinnamon, and donuts and cake….. :) Cant wait to make this.


pierre May 2, 2010 at 18:54

hi karen nice flavour of nuts !! cheers de Paris Pierre


Iron Chef Shellie April 28, 2010 at 12:45

i am SO making these just based on the pictures.


Lori April 26, 2010 at 12:41

Very pretty and very delicious looking! Love the red bucket with the muffins.


grace April 25, 2010 at 22:06

way better than a plain ol' boring donut, and that's all there is to it. i love the coarse sugar along the outside–it's the perfect touch!


angie April 25, 2010 at 07:03

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Though combined with butter and sugar… haha =D Lovely idea to make use of the apples.


small kitchen table April 24, 2010 at 08:07

I have been seeing a lot of apples in the market today! I think I can make some for this weekend! Thanks for the recipe!


Angie April 23, 2010 at 18:31

Karen, you have a great blog. Was googling on hokkien noodles and found your blog. Love your style and your photos are excellent!


Debora April 23, 2010 at 11:03

I just stumbled upon your blog and I'm glad I did! Beautiful photos and recipes. Congratulations! :D


Kaitlin April 23, 2010 at 00:19

Gorgeous shots, as always. These sound totally yummy!


mlle délicieuse April 22, 2010 at 13:19

Mmmm…cinnamonny, sugary goodness! And, ahem, balanced out by the goodness of fresh apples =p


Mark @ Cafe Campana April 22, 2010 at 11:14

These look delicious. I love the addition of the buerre noisette.


Amy @ cookbookmaniac April 22, 2010 at 10:18

Awww. Fantastic photos Karen! The apple donuts look amazing.


Helen (grabyourfork) April 22, 2010 at 09:10

Such a fab idea to roll them in cinnamon sugar. And maybe the eggs are from an admirer, the apples from a C&C reader in the dental profession? Lol.


Missy April 22, 2010 at 06:29

Honey, brown butter and lots of sugar? Enough said. Gimme gimme!


Anh April 22, 2010 at 06:19

Oh, I love the part about the secret admirer. Sooooo sweet!


bake in paris April 22, 2010 at 04:32

Beautiful shots and I bet those donuts are much better than the fried ones. Great job!

Sawadee from Bangkok,


FFichiban April 22, 2010 at 00:49

Yuummmm sugar coated donut cakes! And they got apples so they must b healthy ^^!


chocolatesuze April 21, 2010 at 15:05

yum love the look of the sugar granules! and the bucket! i like ur bucket!


Conor @ HoldtheBeef April 21, 2010 at 11:00

You've turned me into a donut person, just like that. Well, I guess technically you've turned me from not a donut person, to a donut cake person, so I'm not sure if that still counts.

I love the idea of surprise mystery foodstuffs! The children in my building would probably pilfer any such things I received, though.


Lisa April 21, 2010 at 10:31

These look fantastic! I definitely have to give them a try. Yay for mystery apples :D


Moya April 21, 2010 at 09:39

Every autumn I get a craving for apples but that might change now to a craving for brown butter apple donuts! These look so delicious, I'm definitely trying them this weekend, thanks!


Forager April 21, 2010 at 08:43

Yummo. They look so good! And I love the props – the vibrant red pail is so pretty!


Zia Elle April 21, 2010 at 06:46

So you find aplles like giftsoutside your door????? That's wonderfull!!!
Nice picture, yammy receipe!


Jacq April 21, 2010 at 06:36

these look gooooood! I have some apples lying around at home that need to be used so this recipe really came in at the right time :) hope they turn out as donutty as yours!


Cherine April 21, 2010 at 06:34

I wish I can grab one donut muffin… they look SOOOO GOOODDD!!!


The Ninja April 21, 2010 at 05:52

Wasn't me. My random packages tend to explode. As do my mysterious bestowers.

When life gives you apples, make donut-cupcake hybrids?


taz April 21, 2010 at 05:42

these look amazing, you've given me something to do with all the apples I have lying around – thanks!

The last picture in this entry is stunning, it reminds of something straight out of Donna Hay!


@5pandas April 21, 2010 at 05:22

the photos are gorgeous. lovely post!


penny aka jeroxie April 21, 2010 at 04:06

Awesome. Donut muffins!


Chris April 21, 2010 at 03:23

Yum! They look great – i love the idea of adding browned butter to the classic apple/cinnamon combination :)


@bellyrumbles April 21, 2010 at 02:32

They look delightful. Love the idea of rolling them in the cinnamon sugar. Yum creation from a nice surprise delivery.


tangerine eats April 21, 2010 at 02:27

YUM! I love homemade donuts but they'd be even better with warm apple. Did the outside have a slight crunch to it?


OohLookBel April 21, 2010 at 02:23

Wouldn't it be exciting if you had a secret admirer!?! I certainly wouldn't say no boxes of apples. I *love* the recipe and will put it on my list of things to make when I get my oven back.


Maria April 21, 2010 at 01:41

Oh these photos are beautiful! The recipe sounds delicious :-)


Steph April 21, 2010 at 01:03

Oh my! Burnt butter and donutty? Gimme! I've been having the donut craving bad too, these have made the craving even worse! Is that an itty bitty red bucket? That is just the cutest thing ever.


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