Cupcakes out of fashion, in fashion??? Personally I don’t care! I’m more about whether it’s an amazingly tasty, moist, delicious cupcake. Fads don’t interest me.
Lately I’ve been falling in love with cupcakes again. With Valentine’s day coming up, they are such a cute baked gift for a loved one.
I don’t buy cupcakes anymore, I’m yet to find a place here in Brisbane that can match my finicky demands. I find it so fascinating that in the USA, people line up and wait for hours for really good cupcakes. Me, just watching people line up on tv makes me want to bake cupcakes even more…so I did.
With so many options and batters/flavours available, cupcake creativity has come back with a vengeance. I’ve been watching the DC Cupcake sisters and they have 72 flavours!!! I mean, wow!
So I played around and modified one of their recipes…if people line up that long for one of their cupcakes, surely it’s got to be good!!
The only lineup I had was the kids in the kitchen waiting to try them!
Green Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Caramel Drizzle
Adapted from DC Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1⁄3 cup hot water
2 1/2 cups freshly grated apples (I used 3 large Green Apple but you can use your favorite type)
Vanilla cream cheese frosting
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese (195grams / 7/8 cup) at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon water
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
**** Beware this makes approx 28 standard size cupcakes. And a jar plus some of caramel sauce!!!****
For the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/176 C Line 2 standard cupcake pan with 12 paper baking cups, or grease pans with butter if not using baking cups.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a mid size bowl and set aside.
3. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Stop to add the sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly on medium speed, after each addition. It’s important to add them one at a time so that they will completely incorporate into the batter and you don’t put too much weight on your batter at once. This would collapse all the little air bubbles you created when you creamed the butter and sugar.
5. Reduce the speed to low. At this stage, it’s always important to mix as slowly and as little as necessary since you don’t want to traumatize your batter. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add 1/3 of the hot water, beating until well incorporated. Add another third of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the hot water. It’s important to add the flour and water little by little like this, so that your batter does not have too much weight thrown on it and that you allow each amount of flour and water to completely mix into the batter. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining hot water, and beat just until combined.
6. Using a spatula, fold the grated apple into the batter. Take care not to overmix the batter. If you overmix the batter, the cupcakes will not be light and fluffy but instead very dense. Use a standard-size ice cream scoop to fill each baking cup with batter, so the cups are 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. After 5 minutes, transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely for approximately 20 minutes.
It’s always best to cool the cupcakes at room temperature. Putting them in the refrigerator to cool can dry out the cake.
For the vanilla cream cheese frosting: Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until well combined. Be sure to beat on high speed at the very end for at least 2 minutes to ensure that the frosting is light and fluffy.
For the caramel: Pour the sugar and water into a large saucepan. Heat on medium-high heat and stir constantly until the sugar completely liquefies. Stir constantly and be careful not to burn the sugar. After all the sugar has dissolved, add the butter and vanilla extract to the saucepan and mix thoroughly. Once the butter has melted and the butter and sugar are completely mixed, remove from heat and, using a whisk, slowly whisk in the heavy cream until you reach a beautiful golden brown caramel color. Set aside and let cool and thicken for 5 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to thicken further before you use to fill or decorate. I’ve stored my excess caramel for future toppings.
For your frosting transfer the vanilla cream cheese frosting into a plastic disposable piping bag, fitted with a large round metal tip. Be sure to whip up your frosting so it is light and airy but still holds its own. You don’t want to over whip. Start in the center of the cupcake, applying pressure to the bottom of the bag, and guide the tip around the cupcake in a circular motion, then end in the center with a burst of pressure. Try to move quickly and confidently. If you go too slowly, the frosting may come out uneven. You can then add your decorations.
For this cupcake, take the squeeze bottle of caramel and drizzle a flower pattern (or pattern of your choice) on top of each cupcake. You could also top with an apple slice, a sprinkling of cinnamon, or a piece of hand-shaped apple fondant!
The original recipe called for filling the cupcakes with caramel too. This is done by apple coring the cupcake centre then filling it up with caramel before frosting is done etc. If you don’t have a corer you can do it with a knife carefully, however it must be done when the cupcakes are thoroughly cooled.