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?).

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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.