Sunday, August 7, 2011

Apple-Spice Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

So, in an effort to prove to the interwebs that yes, actually, I can bake, I went to my default-- cupcakes.  Apparently the imminent start of school has me thinking about fall and fall flavors, because I went with apple spice cake and honey-cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  The cupcakes were easy-peasy; the frosting was harder to work with than I expected-- but it is sooo good. :)

As a quick note-- the cake here is dairy-free.  I have a three-year-old girl with a milk allergy, so a lot of what I do is chosen because it's easy to convert to a non-dairy recipe.  I will try to note both the dairy/non-dairy ingredients in the recipe so that you can choose the ingredients you want to use. So, here's the rundown:

Cake Ingredients:
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes approximately 24 cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick non-dairy margarine OR unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce (sweetened or unsweetened-- I used sweetened)

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare two cupcake pans with liners (approx. 24).  In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices (cinnamon, ginger, and cloves).

With an electric mixer, beat together butter/margarine, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy (2-3 minutes).  Add eggs one at a time to butter/sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.  Beat in applesauce.  (Note: at this point, my batter looked AWFUL-- like it had curdled.  I think part of this was due to the fact that I used the margarine rather than butter, but even in the original recipe there is a note regarding its icky appearance.  Don't freak out-- just keep going.)  Add the flour mixture, beating at low speed until just combined.

Fill the prepared cupcake liners approximately 2/3 full with the batter.  Don't overfill them, because you are going to want some room for the frosting after they've baked.  I did about 2-ish heaping tablespoons, and that seemed to work for most of mine.  It really should make about 24 cupcakes-- you shouldn't have a ton of batter left over, nor should you run short.

Bake at 350 for about 18-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them-- my oven runs hot (like, surface-of-the-sun hot), so my time measurements may be off.  Remove from oven, cool in the tins for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

(Inspired by recipe in magazine100 Best Cookies, published December 2010 by Better Homes and Gardens)

1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese, softened (I used fat-free-- it didn't seem to make a difference)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend the cream cheese, butter, and honey in a mixing bowl.  (If you have a stand mixer, I would definitely use it for this.)  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well.  Scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition.  (This frosting doesn't set up like a regular buttercream-- it will definitely be pretty soupy, even after the final addition of the powdered sugar.)  Add cinnamon; mix well.  Refrigerate the frosting for at least 30 minutes-- this will make it easier to handle.  (Just FYI-- this frosting is insanely sticky.  It's the kind of sticky that makes me crazy-- I ended up washing my hands about 50 times while making/frosting/decorating these bad boys.)

To decorate, I put the frosting in a ziploc with the corner cut off and spiraled the frosting on from the outside to the inside, like you'd normally do.  The spiral design won't set-- the frosting flattens itself out, so I decided to add some decoration.  My handy husband cut out a heart stencil from the sytrofoam egg carton for me, and I used that to make cinnamon-sugar hearts on the tops of the cupcakes once they'd been iced.
Make sure you don't put the stencil directly on the top of the cupcake-- it will definitely stick and make a mess.  Just hold it close to the top and gently shake on the cinnamon sugar.  I moved evenly from the top of the stencil to the bottom, and that seemed to work pretty well.  The finished product looks like this:
Most of these are going to preschool with the little girl tomorrow for the teachers.  They and my colleagues have ended up as my test kitchen!  No one seems to mind too much.

So-- hopefully I have convinced you that I am capable of following directions. And hopefully I have faithfully reproduced these directions here!  Enjoy-- I certainly did. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment