Thursday, January 5, 2012

Apple Spice Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Every break that I get from school, I always find myself in the kitchen at home. Although I am definitely not one of the best cooks (or bakers, at that), it is one of my new years resolutions to cook more of my own food this year. With graduation less than five months away, it's important that I start acting a little bit more like an adult. And while I know that definitely won't change anytime soon, it's going to take baby steps.

So anyway, I decided to make these apple spice cupcakes. They are so moist and delicious, I could eat them all on my own! However, since I'm trying to grow up, I guess I'll share. 

Below is the recipe, from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski.

For cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tbsp plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream

For frosting:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

For cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with foil liners. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the apple chunks and the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cook, stirring often, until the apples are translucent and soft, 5-7 minutes, set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. In another bowl, with an electric mixer, on medium high speed, beat the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and the 3/4 cup sugar together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add the sour cream and reserved apple mixture, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.

For frosting:
In a large bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is warm to touch, about two minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature, and holds stiff peaks, about 6 minutes.

With the mixture on medium-low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after all the butter is added, continue to beat until it is smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes more. Add teaspoon vanilla extract, and beat until combined.

I hope everyone enjoys! They really are as good as they look. And they look extra special with some edible pearls on top!
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