Sunday, July 15, 2012

Apple Pie Cupcakes


Bloggers Cheryl of Cupcake Bakeshop and Garrett of Vanilla Garlic are hosting a second cupcake round-up event. I submitted my chocolate espresso cupcakes for the previous round-up back in January. To keep us cupcakers focused, Garrett and Cheryl have chosen the theme of "Re-Invention" for this round-up. Both bloggers are cupcake masters and they re-invent and re-interpret classic desserts into cupcake form on a regular basis. They also love the bounty of autumn and suggested that we should take advantage of the seasonal produce.

Like I do with most blog events I was running late. I had a lot of ideas for re-inventing a fall favorite into a cupcake, but the deadline was approaching fast and I had no time (or desire) to make a trip to the market. So I decided to make the apple pie cupcakes from the cupcake feature in an old issue of Donna Hay Magazine. I had all the ingredients I needed for my cupcakes.


Even though this is not an original recipe of my own, I hope it still qualifies for the round-up. I made some minor adjustments to the original Donna Hay recipe as well as adding cinnamon and lemon zest to the cupcake batter since a touch of cinnamon and lemon go so well with apples. Topping the cupcakes with sautéed apples before baking was a great idea (thanks Donna!). I considered increasing the apple-ness by adding chopped or grated apples directly into the cupcake batter but I felt that would've made it more like a muffin instead of a cupcake. If you like cinnamon, you'll love the frosting. If you're not a fan, then just decrease or omit the cinnamon.

To make the cupcake more "pie" like, I wanted to top the frosting with a little wedge of baked pie crust as an accent. I was sure that I had scraps of pie dough saved in my freezer for just an occasion. It would've been the perfect finishing touch, but sadly I was mistaken and no pie dough was to be found. Nevertheless, even without the crust accent, the cupcake is still reminiscent of apple pie.


Apple Pie Cupcakes
(adapted from Donna Hay Magazine #27)
(makes 24 cupcakes)

2 1/4 all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
9 ounces (2 sticks plus 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened at room temp
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon or orange zest
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) whole milk

Apple Topping
3 tbsp (40 g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Cinnamon Frosting
12 ounces (3 sticks / 340g) unsalted butter, softened at room temp
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

To cook the apples
Place butter and sugar in a large fry pan over low-medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add apple slices and cook for 8-10 minutes or until apples are lightly caramelized. Remove apples from pan and let cool completely.

To make the cupcakes
Preheat oven to 325F. Line 24 4-fl-oz-capacity muffin wells with paper liners.

Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides if the bowl occasionally. Beat in the vanilla and grated zest.

On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until flour is barely incorporated. Add the milk and mix until just smooth.

Divide the batter among lined muffin wells, filling each well about 2/3 full. Top with the apples.

Bake at 325F until a cake tested comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool cupcakes on cooling racks. Make sure cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting.

To frost the cupcakes
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioner's sugar and cinnamon and beat for another 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Frost the cupcakes with an icing spatula or piping bag. Optional: Lightly dust frosted cupcakes with 2-3 tsp ground cinnamon.


On a side note, Donna Hay Magazine is a gorgeous glossy and has a clean, elegant aesthetic which I absolutely adore. Since the magazine is Australian based, it's a bit pricey to purchase here in the U.S. (one issue is $10), but I had a Borders bookstore gift card and decided to splurge a little.


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