Autumn is here and if I sound excited that’s because I am! It’s perhaps because I am an October child, but I love this time of the year. The sun is lower in the sky, nature’s colours become more muted, there is a rustling carpet of fallen leaves underfoot eventually, baking and crocheting (both things I like) is in, staying cosy is in, apples and pumpkins are in, what’s not to like?
This is why I have another early autumn inspired offering for you today. I made a tray of insanely moist apple muffins, fragrant with cinnamon and cardamom and studded with walnuts and raisins. What inspired me to come up with it was the abundance of delicious apples that have fallen off the apple tree in our garden, which won’t keep as they sustained some damage on their way to the ground. I am not a cider fan but I love baking and imperfect apples are ideal to use up in cakes.
After some tinkering, I settled on a tray of vegan apple muffins made with spelt flour. I flavoured them with autumn spices and added some raisins and walnuts to the batter for extra texture.
They came out better than I expected and became an instant hit in my house and with my neighbours. At first glance, it may look like I’ve used way too many apples in this recipe, but trust me, it is a fine tuned amount. Apples give these miniature cakes deliciously moist crumb and make them taste great, even after a couple of days. These muffins are easy to make – they come together in a single bowl and we have loved having these as an afternoon treat so I hope you will too.
MORE ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
APPLES: raw, sweet eating apples, coarsely grated is what gives these muffins beautfiul apple flavour and moisture. 400 g / 14 oz of grated apples may sound like a lot, but it really works, trust me. It’s 4 small-medium apples after coring so I recommend using a food processor with a grating disc if you have one although grating apples by hand, while a little tedious, works just as well.
VEGAN YOGHURT: I used thick vegan yoghurt here (The Coconut Collaborative) but you could use thinner one too just add less water (I am guesstimating about 2 tbsp, rather than 4 tbsp) to the batter to compensate.
OIL: any neutral tasting oil, like grapeseed, light olive oil, mild coconut oil will work well here. If using coconut oil be sure to melt and cool it a little first. If you wish to make these without any oil, replace oil with more yoghurt.
SUGAR: I used demerara sugar as it fits in with the flavours of these, but any sugar will work just as well.
ACID: a touch of acid is useful to help these muffins rise, it goes into a reaction with baking soda and helps to create light and fluffy crumb.
SPELT FLOUR: finally, wholemeal (rather than refined) spelt flour is what I made with muffins with. I really like how it tastes. If you want use a different flour, I am expecting wholemeal wheat flour to work well although the baking time may need some altering due to the fact that each flour type has different absorbency.
PS: To make these muffins GLUTEN-FREE:
- reduce the amount of grated apple to 350 g / 12.3 as I find that oat flour is less absorbent than spelt
- use 220 g / 7.75 oz (approx. 2 cups) of oat flour instead of spelt flour
- add 15 g / 2 tbsp of ground flax seeds to the water in the recipe and rest it for 10 minutes before adding to the batter
- extend the baking time by 10 minutes
Combine vegan yoghurt, oil, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and water in a large bowl. Give everything a vigorous stir.
Next, fold in grated apples. Stir until the mixture looks uniform then add spelt flour in (roughly, no need to be exact) batches and all of the remaining dry ingredients. Incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients using a slow folding motion.
Finally, fold in raisins and chopped walnuts if using and voila your batter is ready to divide between muffin holes, decorate and bake.
- 400 g / 14 oz coarsely grated eating apples*
- 240 g / 1 cup thick vegan yoghurt*
- 60 g / ¼ cup neutral tasting oil*
- 140 g / scant ¾ cup demerara sugar or coconut sugar
- 10 ml / 2 tsp lemon or lime juice
- 8 ml / 1½ tsp vanilla extract, (optional)
- 60 ml / ¼ cup water
- 220 g / 7.75 oz (2 cups) wholemeal spelt flour*
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1¼ tsp cinnamon + ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp baking soda (GF certified if needed)
- 1¼ tsp baking powder (GF certified if needed)
- 50 g / ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 50 g / ¼ cup raisins or cranberries
- apple slices, for decoration
- Set the oven to 180° C / 355° F. Line the tin with paper cupcake liners.
- Grate your apples coarsely – I used a food processor with a grating attachement to do that. There is no need to peel them.
- In a large bowl mix together vegan yoghrt, oil, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and water. Give everything a vigorous stir.
- Add in grated apples and mix until the mixture looks uniform.
- Next, fold in spelt flour (in roughly) 2 batches, salt, spices and both baking agents into the wet ingredients.
- Once combined, gently fold in chopped nuts and raisins (chopped if large).
- Divide the batter between 12 muffin holes, decorate with apple slices if you wish and bake for 25 minutes – the muffins are done when a toothpick comes out fairly clean.
- Let them cool down completely (!) before removing them from the tin and eating. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge – these muffins are really moist so they keep well.
*VEGAN YOGHURT: I used thick vegan yoghurt here (The Coconut Collaborative) but you could use thinner one too just add less water (I am guesstimating about 2 tbsp, rather than 4 tbsp) to the batter to compensate.
*OIL: any neutral tasting oil, like grapeseed, light olive oil, mild coconut oil will work well here. If using coconut oil be sure to melt and cool it a litte first. If you wish to make these without any oil, replace oil with more yoghurt.
*SPELT: I used wholemeal spelt flour to make these and that’s what I can recommend with absolute confidence. I am pretty sure that regular wholemeal flour will work too but the baking time may have to altered a little as wheat flour has different absorbency.
*GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To make these GLUTEN-FREE, reduce the amount of grated apples to 350 g / 12.3 oz, use 220 g / 7.75 oz (approx. 2 cups fluffed, spooned and levelled) of oat flour instead of spelt flour, add 15 g / 2 tbsp of ground flax seeds to the water in the recipe (let it sit for 10 minutes to thicken) and, finally, extend the baking time by 10 minutes.