‘Tis the season for….apples! Right now they are in abundance and sometimes it’s hard to know just what to do with all the excess. Finding a way to combine them with a moist spicy cake and top it with a cream cheese frosting leaves you blissfully happy that you get to enjoy the taste of cider, pie and baked apples all in one.
The falling of temperatures means a yearly trek out to the local orchards to collect one of the most versatile fruits. It’s such a great way to spend an afternoon all bundled up and getting to relish the fruits of your local farmers’ labor. Afterwards, most farm stands have a place where you can shop for apple pie, apple dumplings or apple cider. It’s an enjoyable way to warm back up and get inspired for all the apple cooking you’re bound to do at home later on.
Cider is absolutely my favorite version of apples. Did you know it takes 36 apples for a gallon of cider? I myself go through many gallons during the course of the season and that’s a lot of apples! My all-time number one pick for cider comes from Mayer Brothers. Their store is fashioned out of a red barn, and has one entryway and one exit. When we would go there to visit, there were always long lines out the door. You’d have cider dispensers outside to help the time pass, and swarms of bees would be fighting you to get some of that sweet nectar. Even though they’ve expanded their operations, it’s still a local favorite that brings back tons of memories.
Since moving all over the place, Mayer Brothers Cider has been hard to find. It was a few years ago that I was introduced to Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice. Now while I’m not a huge fan of the brand or a ton of caffeine, this drink has become a fast favorite. They combine a steamed apple juice with cinnamon and caramel, and top it off with whipped cream. At first I couldn’t understand why the whipped cream- and then it quickly dawned on me that it gave a person a drinkable apple pie. SOOOO good!
In an homage to the memories of apple picking, Mayer Brothers Cider, and the Caramel Apple Spice found at Starbucks, I thought it would be fun to create a cupcake that is reminiscent of those flavors. It starts by dicing up some of your favorite apples and simmering them in butter and cinnamon. After they have cooled, you make a vanilla cake batter and infuse it with all the spices that go into apple pie, the apple chunks, and of course some apple cider. Once those are cooled completely then you top them with a fluffy pile of whipped cream cheese frosting. Just writing this post is making me jones for another taste!
It’s a fairly simple recipe and one of which I hope you fully enjoy during this glorious season.
To full plates and eating your tarte out,
- 2 apples, any variety
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/3 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 egg
- 1 2/3 cups of cake flour*
- 1 1/8 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of apple cider
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- Wash, peel and core your apples. Dice into small pieces.
- Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add your butter and allow to foam. Add in your diced apples and stir to coat. Add in your cinnamon and cook for five minutes stirring occasionally. Allow to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line twelve muffin tin cups with cupcake liners.
- In a mixer combine sugar, butter and salt together and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg till well blended.
- Sift together your flour, baking powder and spices. In a separate bowl, combine your milk, cider and vanilla.
- Turn your mixer onto it's lowest speed and add in half of your flour mixture, followed by all of the milk mixture. Then add in the last of your flour mixture and mix till smooth.
- Fold in your cooled apples. Divvy up into cupcake liners till about 2/3 full, you will have some extra.
- Bake for fifteen minutes. Rotate your pan and cook for an additional fifteen minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- If you don't have cake flour, measure out all purpose flour and then subtract three tablespoons. Then add in three tablespoons of cornstarch. The rule of thumb is for every cup of flour, subtract two tablespoons of flour and add back in two tablespoons of cornstarch to make cake flour.
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 tablespoon of milk
- In a mixer, combine butter and cream cheese. Beat until well incorporated, scraping down sides and paddle as needed. Add in powdered sugar, starting on low speed. Mix until combined and then turn up the speed to medium and beat three to five minutes until light and fluffy. Add in salt, vanilla and milk. Beat for an additional minute.
- Place frosting into a piping bag fitted with desired tip. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
- If wanting shelf stable frosting, sub out the cream cheese called for and use all butter. Instead of milk, use cream cheese flavoring- only a teaspoon though.