Last week, I entered my first cupcake competition, which was put together by the fun committee in the building I work in. I decided to do something seasonal and use apples. While I wasn’t in the top 3 (and I’m pretty sure the winner’s cupcake mix was from a box), I did get an honorable mention and won myself an IPod speaker that lights up. It’s pretty cool!
You can make your own apple chips to go with these cupcakes, or you can buy them in bags from the store if you don’t want to spend 3 hours making them. I only baked one apple so I didn’t have enough slices to place a whole one on each cupcake (I guess we sampled too many), so I broke them up.
If you’re not planning on serving these right away, you can refrigerate the cupcakes after they’re frosted. Just be sure to let them thaw out a bit before trying to put the apple slices on top, the frosting will be very firm straight from the fridge. I’m not sure if the apples will stay crisp if you put them in the fridge.
Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
Makes 24 cupcakes
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 medium apples, peeled and grated (about 3 cups grated)
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
Apple chips for decoration.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 muffin tins with paper liners (for 24 cupcakes).
Wisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter on medium high speed for about 2 minutes until it fluffs up a bit. Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat for another 2 minutes. It was supposed to become light and fluffy, but that never happened for me, it looked crumbly.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each egg. This is where mine got light and fluffy!
On low speed, beat in the buttermilk until well combined. Does it look curdled to you? It will, but that’s okay, everything will work out in the end.
Now, use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour just until combined, then stir in the apples.
Divide the batter among the 24 prepared muffin cups (I used an ice cream scoop), and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat the butter on medium high speed for 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes. Don’t give up. It will become fluffier.
Add the sugar and cinnamon slowly (I did about 5 additions) on low speed.
Now, add the vanilla on low speed, and once incorporated, increase the speed to high and beat for another minute or two. The frosting should be nice and thick. Place it in your piping bag or spread it onto the cooled cupcakes with a spatula. I sprinkled the frosted cupcakes with a bit of cinnamon sugar too.
Top each cupcake with an apple chip (or a piece of one).
I made my own apple chips (you can do this in advance and store in an airtight container). Just preheat your oven to 200F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or some parchment, and use a mandolin to get even slices from an apple. Place the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Mix together a little cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on both sides of the apples.
Bake them for 2 or 3 hours, turning once or twice in the process, until they are crispy.