Monday, May 31, 2010

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I know that right now, cupcakes are all the rage. I am not such a trend person, so while I think that cupcakes are cute, I could take them or leave them. That being said, when I saw this recipe and thought of the bag of apples that my mom sent home with me the other day, I figured that making cupcakes with apples was a great way to indulge in a sweet treat and prevent the apples from going bad. Win-win, right?!

I did a bit of reading up on the science behind the making of cupcakes and found myself wanting to know more. I learned that it is very important to make sure the butter is at room temperature and to give it a good beating when adding the sugar and the eggs. Once the flour is added, it is important to only beat as long as it takes to incorporate the flour, and no more. Interesting. I think that I may be visiting cupcake baking a bit more often in the future. ;)

Apple Pie Cupcakes
Annie's Eats

Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk

For the apple filling:
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 tbsp. sugar
3 large apples, peeled, cored and diced (any variety will work!)

For decorating:
vanilla buttercream frosting, recipe is below (You won't use the entire batch.  The leftovers can be refrigerator or frozen for a later use.)

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. 

In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine.  Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined. 

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3-3/4 full.  Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the apple filling, heat the butter a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble.  Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples.  Mix well.  Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

While the apple mixture is cooling, use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of the cupcake.  Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture.  To decorate, top each cupcake with a swirl of vanilla buttercream.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
20 tbsp. (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream
(I used 2% milk, due to a family member's food allergy)
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.  Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds.  Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds.  Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

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