Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Apple season is here! In fact, according to this story, the season has arrived a bit ahead of schedule. So in honor of my favorite food, here’s a recipe from my Apple Lover’s Cookbook for apple cupcakes.
It took me several attempts to figure these cupcakes out—to come up with a recipe that was full of apple flavor without being mistaken for a breakfast muffin. Among the experiments: a liquid apple butter center, a scattering of finely diced apples. Finally, I considered adding boiled cider, which is just very concentrated apple juice. It did the trick, adding rich flavor to the batter while also producing a very tender, identifiably cakelike product. Spiced cream cheese frosting was the perfect finish. Honestly, I can’t think of any cake that wouldn’t be improved by cream cheese frosting. And it’s so much easier to make than buttercream.
Note: This recipe has a large yield, 24 cakes. I think this is a sensible amount for most birthday parties—plenty of people will eat two cakes each. However, you can cut the recipe in half fairly easily—most everything divides into two, except for the eggs and the boiled cider. In that case, use 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk and 3½ tablespoons boiled cider. (You can order boiled cider from the King Arthur Flour catalog or from Wood’s Cider Mill). The frosting divides neatly in half.
Make-ahead tip: You can bake the cupcakes up to a week in advance. When cool, arrange them on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer. When frozen, transfer them to zip-top bags. You can make the frosting up to four days in advance. Bring everything to room temperature before frosting.
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