Recipe: Whiskey Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

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We are deep in the thick of apple season. I’ve been dining on apple pie and drinking apple cider seltzers (1/2 apple cider, 1/2 club soda) like crazy. This is the start of my favorite food season. It starts off with apple, moves into pumpkin, takes a left turn at mashed potatoes and biscuits and finally ends at cookies. What’s not to love?

I believe Whiskey Apple Pie to be my signature dish. And what better dish to introduce myself to my new coworkers than a more mobile, more easily shareable version of that pie?

Oh, yeah, I have a new job! Everyone in my department was laid off back in June. I spent a month unemployed but fortunately found a new gig pretty quickly. I worked from home for 10 weeks over the summer until finally joining other human beings back in an office. The good news is that I have sick days again! The bad news is that my day starts at 6 a.m. I’m slowly adjusting. Anyway, as I have learned, baked goods are the quickest way to make friends at a new job. I think I did pretty good with these. As soon as the word ‘whiskey’ passed my lips, people were clamoring for a cupcake. One guy told me they tasted like Christmas.

These turned out really quite delicious. You can make them non-alcoholic if you’d like, but I think it adds a really nice flavor.

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Whiskey Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

Makes around 18 cupcakes

The Ingredients:

For the Apple Cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 TSP baking powder
1/2 TSP baking soda
1 TSP salt
2 TSP cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 TSP vanilla
2 cups grated apples
(2 Granny Smith, 1 Fuji or comparable pairing)

For the Whiskey Apple Pie filling:
3 apples, finely chopped
(2 Granny Smith, 1 Fuji or comparable pairing)
1 TBSP unsalted butter
2 TBSP light brown sugar
1 TSP lemon juice
1/4 TSP cinnamon
1/2 TSP cloves
1 TSP ginger
1 TSP nutmeg
2 TSP Whiskey

For the Cinnamon Frosting:
1 cup butter
at room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar
2-4 TBS milk
2 TSP vanilla extract
1 TSP cinnamon

The Process:

Make the whiskey apple pie filling first by placing the chopped apples, butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, whiskey and spices in a medium pan and cook over medium heat until the apples are tender and most of the liquid has cooked off, about eight to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool while preparing the cupcakes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients– flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla and whisk. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. It will get harder and harder to stir this mixture and you may find that you need to get your hands involved and knead the dough a little bit. Don’t be concerned about how dry the batter is. Work the grated apples into the batter and you will see that the mixture moistens up nicely. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full with batter and bake for anywhere from 18 to 24 minutes. My cupcakes needed a longer bake time. Remove them from the oven when a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, use a paring knife to remove a ‘cone’ of cake from each cupcake. Fill each hole with enough pie filling to be flush with the tops of the cupcake.

Beat the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until it is light and creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and beat to combine. Add just enough milk to make the frosting easily spreadable/pipeable. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Blossom Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Blossom Cupcake

Recently I was given a copy of “Bake it in a Cupcake”, a cookbook based on the Bake It in a Cake blog. I’ve always admired the photos from that site, but have wondered about the taste of said baked goods. How good can an already-baked cookie or mini pie taste when nestled in cupcake batter and then baked again?

The answer: Delicious. Why am I always skeptical of popularity?

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I am a big fan of the Peanut Butter Blossom cookie. It’s one of the staple things I bake around Christmas and it’s so good. So when I saw a recipe for a cupcake with a Peanut Butter Blossom cookie inside, I had to go for it.

I was worried that the Hershey’s Kiss on top of each cookie would just melt into a pile of goo once it went back into the oven with the cupcake batter, but I shouldn’t have worried. Once the cupcake was cooled and frosted (with an AMAZING Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting), a cross-section revealed that everything stayed exactly where it was supposed to.

Peanut Butter Blossom Cupcake

How beautiful is that? And topped with that frosting, it was a perfect one-two-three punch of chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla.

I’m now eager to try other recipes from the book, including the cupcakes that contain mini pies. I’m very skeptical of those, so I can’t wait to be blown away by how good they taste.

Peanut Butter Blossom Cupcake

Summer Wrap-up

I’ve been gone way too long. But summer is coming to an end (hallelujah!) and my baking responsibilities will be picking up again, so I thought I’d do a quick photo-heavy wrap-up of what I’ve been baking this summer.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies from The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook. This is definitely my new favorite cookbook. I’ve made so many things from it (there will be photos of more in this post) and everything so far has turned out great.

Megan's Bridal Shower dessert table
Have I mentioned my sister-in-law is getting married on Friday?!? In June, the other bridesmaids and I threw Megan’s bridal shower and her maid of honor and I baked everything but the cake for her dessert table. I brought chocolate-dipped merengues, spiced sugar cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles! The truffles are from The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook and are quite possibly the most addicting and delicious thing ever. And there’s no baking at all!

Cocktail-Inspired Cupcakes
Last month, the other bridesmaids and I threw Megan’s bachelorette party and I baked cocktail-inspired cupcakes. The party was great! We even got upgraded to the Presidential Suite at the Roosevelt Hotel! The cupcakes looked so at home in that lavish suite.

Mojito Cupcakes
Mojito Cupcakes

Old Fashioned Cupcakes
Old-Fashioned Cupcakes

White Russian Cupcakes
White Russian Cupcakes

Moscow Mule Cupcakes
Non-Alcoholic Moscow Mule Cupcakes

Screwdriver Cupcakes
Non-Alcoholic Screwdriver Cupcakes

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes
July 4th Red, White and Blue Vanilla Cupcakes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Stuffed Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Stuffed Cupcakes (Can you guess where this recipe is from?)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Stuffed Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Stuffed Cupcakes innards

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Thumprint Cookies
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Thumbprint Cookies (Again, from The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook)

And that’s it! There have been a few other items that I didn’t photograph, but I’m getting back in the swing of things now. I’ll be providing baked goods for the first Largehearted Lit event of the season at Word bookstore in Greenpoint on Wednesday, September 19th. The book/music event is free, so come check out some great authors, music and cookies!

Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcake

Last week I had another Largehearted Lit event at Word bookstore in Greenpoint. It had been awhile since I made Carrot Cake Cupcakes, so I busted out my trusty copy of “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook” and whipped up a batch of her Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes.

This is hands down my favorite Carrot Cake recipe. I omit the raisins (I am of the opinion that raisins do not belong in cupcakes), and what’s left is just fantastic.

Carrot Cake Cupcake

I attempted to make a pretty orange and white swirled frosting, but I realized too late that I had run out of large piping bags. When I do swirls, I fill up two small piping bags with different colored frosting and then insert both of them in a much larger piping bag to create a dual piping bag of sorts. I shuffled through the mountain of piping bags I have only to discover that I was out of the large ones. So I tried to wing it and just put the two frostings in a small bag, but it didn’t *quite* work. Ah well. Lessons learned.

I’ll be back at Word on May 22nd for another Largehearted Lit event. My plan is to make Vegan Root Beer Float Cupcakes and non-vegan Creamsicle Cupcakes. Stop on by!

Vegan Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Vegan Cookies and Cream Cupcake

This past weekend Rob and I had a backyard barbecue for Father’s Day. We invited Rob’s dad as well as his sister and her fiance over on Sunday for some beer and grilled meats.

Well, grilled meats and a grilled black bean patty for my vegan sister-in-law.

I knew I’d be baking something vegan for dessert, so I pulled out my trusty copy of “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”. There was a very tempting lemon and blueberry number that I almost went for, until reading that it needed to be served immediately after assembling. I planned to bake the night before the barbecue, so I needed something that would hold up for 12 hours or more.

I flipped to the beginning of the book and looked at the chocolate cupcake and noticed the Cookies and Cream variation. It’s basically a chocolate cupcake with vanilla ‘butter’cream frosting with half a package of chocolate sandwich cookies crushed up and thrown in. Sounded like something i could definitely do.

I forgot to make a turn down the organic section at our grocery store and quickly discovered that that is probably where they keep the Newman-O’s, so I picked up Oreos instead. Yes, folks, Oreos are vegan! Which means that there isn’t anything even resembling milk in those bad boys. Hooray for chemicals! Tasty, tasty chemicals.

Anyhoo, everything went according to plan, save for the fact that I used a large round tip to frost them when I should have went with a star tip. It worked out okay, I think. Everyone was very happy with these cupcakes and four of us polished off two each in short order. Rob’s dad was the only one with any restraint.

Photos!

Vegan Cookies and Cream Cupcake

Vegan Cookies and Cream Cupcake
So stunning in black and white!

Vegan Orange Cupcakes with Orange Pudding Filling and Orange ‘Butter’cream

Vegan Orange Cupcake with Orange Pudding Filling and Orange 'Butter'cream

On Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I threw our first barbecue of 2011. We fired up our grill and made some delicious Pat LaFrieda burgers and invited over our friends Brian and Alison and their three kids.

The two eldest kids have some dairy sensitivities, so I decided to make vegan treats for them. A chance view at a baking blog revealed Orange Cupcakes, which I realized came from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”. They looked delicious, so I decided to tackle to them.

These are fairly simple to make, if a little time-consuming. And they’re soooo tasty. We all really enjoyed them and they’ve made the list to be repeated.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody! Hopefully you have all overcome your hangovers and packed away your green shirts until next year. But if you’re not ready to let go quite yet, here’s a cupcake that you can make any day of the year that will bring a little luck o’ the Irish to you.

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This, my friends, is an Irish Car Bomb Cupcake. It’s based on a drink. A drink that requires work, coordination and determination. You start with a 3/4 full pint glass of Guinness and a shot glass full of Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson whiskey. You drop the full shot glass in the glass of Guinness and shotgun the whole thing before it has a chance to curdle from the Bailey’s. I’ve never had one of these drinks and don’t ever plan to. For starts, the smell of Guinness is a little too close to feet for me, and the idea of chugging a full glass of beer, cream and whiskey makes my stomach turn.

But holy cow, when you combine those flavors in a cupcake, it’s amazing. Smitten Kitchen seems to have the definitive recipe out on the web, which is what I used to make these cupcakes. And they turned out great. I’ve worked with a few recipes lately where I had less than stellar results, but this recipe was just so perfect.

The cake is chocolate and Guinness. These flavors work so well together. Guinness lends the chocolate such a richness. Once the cupcakes are baked, a ganache consisting of chocolate, heavy cream, butter and two teaspoons of whiskey. You wouldn’t think two teaspoons would lend much flavor, but you get hit in the face with that whiskey as soon as you bite far enough into the cupcake to taste it. And the frosting is butter, powdered sugar and Bailey’s. Delicious.

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I found those cute shamrock sprinkles at NY Cake and Baking. I’m pretty sure I’ll still be using those sprinkles on St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes in 2025.