Apple Cupcake with Maple Peanut Butter Frosting

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This week it finally begins to feel like autumn. I think it was the first time I actually felt cold this October. But what better thing is there to do other than stay inside bake some goodies and drink hot apple cider? I contend, again, that autumn is the most delicious season of all–and it finally feels like it.

This week I wasn’t exactly sure what type of cupcakes to make and started to troll Pinterest (where else?) and found a nice recipe for apple maple cupcakes. The cake was a delicious and easy to make. After the pumpkin cupcake incident, I was wary of putting too much apple in. However, by using two medium sized Macintosh apples from Trader Joe’s, the apple provided a nice moisture to the overall cake. I liked this cake because it wasn’t too sweet, as the maple (with peanut butter) frosting was a bit on the sweeter side.

Honestly, I had a bit of trouble with the maple frosting. When you make a buttercream, you add confectioner’s sugar to thicken the frosting. But when you add maple syrup on top of the normal amount of sugar, you may end up having to schedule a visit to the dentist’s office. While I knew that, I still put too much maple syrup in the frosting, making the butter a strange sticky concoction. It looked as if the frosting would fall off, but the maple syrup acted like glue. To thicken it without putting too much sugar, I dropped in a glob of peanut butter. The peanut butter immediately thickened the mixture and added a slight savory flavor to the sweet frosting.

Ultimately, the cake and the frosting were really delicious and basically have been getting me through midterm season. If you are not currently considering moving your bed to a library, then I’m sure that these are best enjoyed along some simmering mulled wine or spiced apple cider while relaxing on comfy couches.

Enjoy!
JJC

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Recipe
Cake, yield 16
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 cups shredded apples (I used Macintosh apples)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition.
6. Fold in the apples.
7. Fill 16 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 350F for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids, peanut butter, and confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.DSC_0450

Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes

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Not only is it AT&T’s recent advertising slogan, it’s also generally human nature to think that “more is better.” However, that is not always the case when it comes to baking. Last week I thought that it would be nice to make pumpkin chocolate cupcakes to celebrate autumn, the most delicious season of all. I took a Martha Stewart and tried to half the recipe adapt it to what I normally make. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that my recipe would only call for half the can of pumpkin puree, instead of the entire can. So, I dumped the entire can in.

The issue with adding too much pumpkin is that it is a very dense food that sinks to the bottom of the cupcake. While the cake looked ready after 17 minutes from the top and passed the toothpick rule, there was uncooked pumpkin chilling (pun intended) at the bottom of the lining. When I took the trays out, the cake almost immediately sunk and turned into a crater:

Attempt 1: don't add too much pumpkin. But when all else fails, grab a pumpkin ale.

Attempt 1: don’t add too much pumpkin. But when all else fails, grab a pumpkin ale.

In an effort to save the cupcakes, I ended up putting them back into the oven, which you’re really not supposed to do, for another 5 minutes. This resulted in a chewy pumpkin cake, but at least it was cooked. The only good thing that came out of it was the pumpkin ale (so good!), and the overall flavor of the cupcake was still good.

Feeling unsuccessful, I tried to make the same pumpkin cupcakes the following week. This time, I reduced the amount of pumpkin in the batter and kept a watchful eye on the oven to ensure that the cakes were fully cooked before taking them out of the oven. I also added a little more cinnamon and nutmeg in the cake to enhance the pumpkin flavor. Finally, I changed the frosting recipe to include a bit of coffee to give it a nice dark chocolate flavor.

Once the cakes cooled and the dark chocolate frosting was applied, it sure tasted like a biting into autumn bliss. In the end, I really enjoyed this cupcake and now am stocking up on pumpkin puree. It’s the best when enjoyed with a cup of warm spiced apple cider (preferably farm fresh, but the one from Trader Joe’s isn’t bad either). Or, if you’re stuck in midterm season, these pumpkin cupcakes will make any trip to the library just a bit better.

Xo,
JJC

Recipe
Cake, yield 18
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 can (8 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sour cream

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition.
6. Blend in the pumpkin puree and the sour cream.
7. Fill 24 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 350F for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup milk with 2 tablespoons of dissolved cornstarch
1 tablespoon coffee
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
~3 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids, the cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.DSC_0425