Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Caramel apple pie cheesecake

If you know me, you know I'm a cupcake kind of gal.  Perhaps the biggest testament to this is from the mouths of babes.

My little nephew had the hardest time saying my name when he was learning to talk.  So, instead of struggling with the 3-syllable, Angela, I was dubbed "Auntie Cupcake".  I was so sad when he actually learned to say my name correctly.

But I digress.  I want to step out of my comfort zone.  I've made dozens of different flavors of cupcakes.  Many different cakes.  Lots of cookies.  But I want to expand my horizons to include pies, cheesecakes, candy, etc.   And in walks this pie...

Cinnamon graham cracker crust, homemade caramel,  brown sugar & cinnamon apples, a cheesecake layer(I actually subbed mascarpone for the cream cheese), whipped cream frosting & more caramel.

Oh yeah, baby.  I got this!  Lots of elements, but they all came together with ease.  Each portion took less than 20 minutes.  The only hard thing was waiting for it to cool in the fridge.

I took this to our early Thanksgiving celebration last night & I really think it was the star of the meal.  My only regret was that I only made one.  After a big fat meal we all went down for a late night jacuz session.  There were two slices when we left, but not so much as a crumb on our return.  Bummers!

The cream cheese layer is thin on this.  I stuck with the original recipe, but if you were inclined to double that layer, I think that would work, too.

Hope you all have a wonderful, fun, family, and food-filled Thanksgiving!

For the crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½-¾ cup caramel
1 cup chopped pecans
For the apple filling:
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
For the cheesecake:
8 oz. cream cheese (I subbed mascarpone)
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the topping:
¾ cup heavy cream
3-4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
¼-½ cup caramel
Chopped pecans
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375° F.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter.  Toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened and the ingredients are evenly mixed.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan and press the crumbs in an even layer over the pan bottom and about half to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan.  Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color.  Let cool for about 10 minutes.  Pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the chopped pecans.  Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.
To make the apple filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Mix in the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, until bubbling.  Mix in the apple slices and toss well to coat.  Cook over medium to medium-high heat until tender and most of the liquid has been reduced, about 15-20 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes and pour into the prepared pie shell.  Set aside.
Reduce the heat of the oven to 350° F.  To make the cheesecake layer, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.   Mix in the vanilla, egg and lemon juice until fully incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Spread the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the top of the cooked apples in the crust.  Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
To serve, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (being careful not to overbeat.)  Spread gently over the top of the chilled cheesecake layer.  Top with dollops of caramel sauce and swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect.  Sprinkle with a handful of chopped pecans if desired.  Slice with a long, thin knife to serve.
Source: adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally from Mimi Hodges, the winner of Good Morning, America’s “Pie of Emeril’s Eye” Contest, 2000

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough filling & toasted marshmallow frosting

Is that title a mouthful or what?  If you think it's name is great, just wait til you taste these babies.

My treats are always well-received(not because I don't cooke duds.  I do.  They just end up in the rubbish).  However, different people have different taste.  What is someone's favorite, might rate lower on the scale for someone else.  My husband prefers his treats "so sweet that it hurts my mouth".  My sister-in-law, Kawai, loves anything with cream cheese.  Our cousin Vanessa loves the peanut butter & chocolate combination.  I have also found that a lot of locals on Oahu prefer their sweets a little less sweet than, say, my Texas peeps.

That being said, this was a clear winner for all, regardless of their preference.

It literally has it all.  Moist cake with a great crumb.  Faux cookie dough with that salty-sweet combo.  And the best of all, super-duper, ooey-gooey marshmallow.

Look at how that marshmallow just cradles that lovely sphere of cookie dough.

I gave these to my 3 & 5 year old nephew & niece.  Someone said, "oh they are just going to lick the frosting off & leave the cake".  Not even close.  Every last crumb was licked off the wrapper before they promptly asked, "may I have another cupcake please".

So next time you want to be the superstar, Martha Stewart, Queen Cupcake of your bake sale, Christmas party, family potluck, etc., make these stash you some & be prepared to have your ego stroked!

For the Cupcakes:  Adapted from Joy the Baker

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 cups cold water

For the Cookie Dough Balls:

1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (i know we’re not baking them, it’s for flavor)

3/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (if you have a nut allergy, 2 tablespoons of yogurt will work as a binder as well)

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips-

For the Meringue:

4 large egg whites

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

large pinch of salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, vanilla extract and vinegar.

Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix.  The mixture will be quite wet, but that’s ok.

Pour the batter until the cups are two thirds full and place in the oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cup comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then place on a wire rack until completely cool before topping with cookie dough ball.

For the Cookie Dough Balls:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment (or with a large bowl and a wooden spoon) cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes in the machine.  Beat in peanut butter (or yogurt if using) along with the vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add all at once to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon a scant tablespoons size amount of dough in your hand.  Roll into a ball and place on a cookie sheet.  Make 24 little cookie dough balls, and refrigerate until ready to top the cupcakes.

For the Meringue:

In a large pot, bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer.

In a large, heat-proof bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and salt.  The mixture will be grainy, because of the sugar.

Place bowl over simmering water and whisk as it heats.  The sugar will dissolve after about 5 minutes.  Keep and eye on the mixture, it shouldn’t get warm enough to cook the eggs.  Yucky.

Transfer the egg white and sugar mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  With a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, on high, until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes)  The mixture will be fluffy and glossy and look like melted marshmallows.  It’ll be sticky too.  Beat in the vanilla extract last.   Cover, and set aside until ready to frost cupcakes.

To Assemble Cupcakes:

Use a small paring knife to cut a 3/4-inch whole out of the top/center of the cupcakes.  Don’t cut the whole center of the cupcake out… just make a little hole for the dough ball to rest without rolling off.

Place dough balls on top of cupcakes.

Place meringue frosting in a pastry bag (or large Ziplock bag) fitted with a medium-large tip.  Use your instincts for the size of the tip.  Any size (star or round) medium tip will do for frosting these cupcakes.  Pipe frosting around the edges of the cupcake and over the dough ball in a circular motion.  Frost all cupcakes.

At this point you can toast your marshmallow frosting with a kitchen torch.

If you don't then turn on your oven's broiler.

Place 12 cupcakes on a baking sheet.  Place cupcakes under the broiler for about 1 minute.  Don’t even close the broiler door.  Keep an eye on them as they toast.  You may need to remove the cupcakes and rotate the pan to ensure that they cook evenly.  Once toasted, remove cupcakes, and toast the remaining 12 in the same fashion.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chocolate cherry cupcakes

So my mom is visiting the islands this week all the way from Texas.   The thing she stressed that she wanted more than anything was my baking.  Yay, the perfect excuse reason to bake.

Now came the hard part.  What to bake?  She had seen my many different creations here.  However, I didn't want to repeat past cuppies.  I think my favorite thing about baking is the opportunity to try new things.  To create.

She loves chocolate & cherries.  I love chocolate & cherries.  I had never baked these before.  So we had a winner!  Plus, I can't help but think of her when I think of chocolate and cherries.

You see there is a diet that she does.  On occasion you have to do a "steak & apple" day.  Well, my mom needed to have a steak and apple day, but she had a little problem.  She had no apples.  So instead of just eating the steak or say, steak and an orange, she ate steak & chocolate covered cherries.  And guess what?  When she weighed in the next day, she had lost over 2 lbs.  What a brat, right?

The base is a moist yet sturdy chocolate cake.  Call me lazy but I used cherry pie filling for the center.  The top is my trusty homemade whipped cream which you can find the recipe to here.  I used a fine grater to grate semisweet chocolate and dusted the cream with them.  Then I topped it with a sweet, shiny red maraschino cherry.  Winning combination!!!  Loved by all who tried them.

I also made another variation that I will post later, but my mom & Duke both preferred these jewels.

Unfortunately, I can almost guarantee you that she lost no weight the day after eating these.  That's okay though.  The weather has been pretty rainy & we're not planning on breaking out the bikinis just yet!

Chocolate & cherry cupcakes-yields approx 18 cupcakes


1 1/2 cups (180 g/6 oz) all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups (275 g/10 oz) sugar

1/2 cup (60 g/2 oz) dark cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder – Extra Dark)

1 1/4 teaspoons (6 g) baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons (5 g) baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 g) salt

75 mL (2.5 liquid oz) vegetable oil

140 mL (5 liquid oz) buttermilk

130 mL (4.5 liquid oz) espresso or strong, hot brewed coffee

2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon (15 mL) vanilla (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract)

Approx 1/2 can a cherry pie filling.  I had plenty left over.


1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Line cupcake pans with 18 liners.

2. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pans. If possible, use digital kitchen scale and weigh pans for even layers. Batter will be liquidy.

3. Bake for 18-20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean–approximately 30 minutes. Try not to over bake.

4. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.

5.  After cupcakes are cooled cone out the center and spoon cherry pie filling in the center.  (I found 3-4 cherries fit well).  You can replace the topper that you cut out or just omit the topper all together.  It makes for good munching.

6.  Top with whipped cream and dust with chocolate shavings & top with the cherry.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin spice white hot chocolate

Yup, I know we are well into November & the pumpkin posts are probably getting old, quick.  It's really not my fault though.  I bought into the pumpkin scare and purchased more pumpkin than I could probably use in the next 5 years.

It's okay though because I've been using pumpkin in everything, including things other than baking.  Like this hot chocolate.

This is a yummy, creamy, thick hot chocolate.  The flavors are complementary and it is a delicate, out of the box, hot drink.

Extra points for how easy it is to make.

So break out all that extra pumpkin that I know you have and make this!

 Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate

1.5 cups whole milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch sea salt
2 ounces white chocolate (roughly chopped)
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine milk, pumpkin and spices. Cook string constantly until just simmering.
Remove from heat and add chocolate ( reserve some for garnish)
Just before serving, top each mug with a generous mound of whipped cream, a few shavings of white chocolate, and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon. Serve immediately.
quick notes
To store, let cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat to serve. Recipe can easily be doubled.

Source:  Tidy Mom.  Originally from  Closet Cooking
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin cream cheese cakes & food & fall in Canada

Oh my!  It's been forever since I've posted.  Please forgive me.  I took a short, much-needed, amazing vacation.

Seven days split between Vancouver & Victoria.  Although Duke & I have travelled far & wide, I must say that this is one of my top vacations, if not the best.  Autumn was in full swing when we arrived.  I couldn't have imagined better, more vibrant colors.  We managed to pack in loads of sight-seeing, but also had nice evenings lounging by the fireplace.  And hours of sleep!  Yay for vacations.

I was excited for time off, but honestly, I wasn't expecting exciting cuisine.  Boy was I wrong!

World-class sushi at Tojo's prepared by Tojo himself.    To die for.

And a four course dinner at Sooke Harbour House.  The seafood was fresh and purchased at local markets the morning of.  For breakfast was continental breakfast(in bed)like I've never seen before.  All freshly baked to order!

Not to mention the open market at Granville Island.  The scents of spices at one end & fresh-baked pies at the other end, the bustling banter between customer and seller, the vibrant colors.  Duke & I were both in heaven.

Naturally, the first thing I wanted to do when I came home was hit the kitchen.  I went to my kitchen & found no milk, eggs, whipping cream.  Bummer.  But then I remembered these little pumpkin cuties that I had book-marked from one of my favorite food bloggers, Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny.  Bingo.  I had all the ingredients.

These are a no-bake, light, decadent treat.  And when I say no-bake, I mean it.  I tried to bake the crust for a few minutes and smoked the house out.  Ooops.

Happy to be home!

Stay tuned for more fun recipes.

7 graham cracker sheets (I used 4 ounces of graham crumbs)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Cheesecake Mixture
8 oz. Cool Whip Free
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar (or 6 Splenda packets)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pumpkin Mixture
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. allspice
In a food processor, grind up the graham cracker sheets into fine crumbs.  {If you don’t have a food processor or blender, place the graham crackers into a bag and crush them with a rolling pan or a cup.}  Place the graham cracker crumbs into a bowl and add in the ground cinnamon and sugar.  Melt the butter and add it to the graham cracker crumbs.
Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and put one tablespoon of the graham cracker crumb mixture in the bottom of each liner.  Press down the crumbs with your hand.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, whip the cream cheese, vanilla extract and sugar (or Splenda) for a few minutes until fluffy.  Add the Cool Whip and whip until smooth.  To make the pumpkin mixture, combine the pumpkin puree, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger and allspice.  Add 2/3 cup of the cheesecake mixture to the pumpkin mixture.  Stir with a spatula until the two batters are completely combined and there are no lumps.
Using a cookie dough scooper (or spoon), fill each cupcake liner with 1 1/2 scoop fulls of the cheesecake mixture.  Each liner should be filled almost to the top.  Now place three dots of pumpkin batter onto the cheesecake batter in the liner.  I used a 1/4 teaspoon to scoop the pumpkin batter.  Use a toothpick to swirl the two batters.
Once each cheesecake cup is swirled, placed the cupcake pans into the fridge to chill for a few hours (I chose to keep mine in overnight) until firm.  Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Henna cake

Ever known someone who seems just absolutely perfect?  That would be my sis-in-law, Pume.  Always smiling.  Never gets angry or agitated.  Sweet as pie to everyone she meets.  Giving?  Check.  Compassionate?  Resoundingly, yes!  Hard-working?  Absolutely.

We could stop there & be fine, but alas, there is more.  Pume is one of those girls that we would love to hate, but it's just impossible.  She is also tall & gorgeous.  Prom queen?  Yup, that's her.  Modeling?  Yeah, she did that too.

And then there are her talents.  Dancer.  Artist.  Organizer extraordinaire.  Which leads me to this post.

She is active in her church & very involved with their India outreach.  She's been there twice.  Deep into the heart of India, to the remote villages.  I don't know the specifics, but I know they contribute clothes, medical supplies/care, and even got the ball rolling to get a school set up.
She always comes back with goodies-food, spices, saris.  But this last time, she came back with henna.  She practiced her henna art on all the family.  Beautiful designs on our feet, wrists, hands, shoulders, etc.

And then it hit me!!!!  The way she held the henna dye was just like holding a piping bag.  This was going to be a marriage made in heaven.  My baking and her designs.

I would love to tell you all our cakes are perfect & beautiful.  Well, actually our finished products always are, but our trial runs...oh the trial runs.

We are both self-taught.  So everything we do is trial-and-error.  And oh the errors....the messy, crumbly, lopsided, ooey-gooey errors.  Oh, yum.  I'm drooling just thinking about them.

It was only natural that we decided to bake a "henna cake" for this year's India fundraiser.

The cake is a rich, sturdy chocolate cake filled with my own recipe for mint chocolate ganache and frosted with mint swiss meringue buttercream.  I had a little batter leftover and made us 2 cupcakes, so I can attest to the wonderfulness of this cake.  Chocolatey, minty, yummy goodness.

I hear it was a top-seller at the silent auction.  I can't wait to see how our bidder liked it.

I hope to feature many more cakes featuring the talents of Pume.  And while I absolutely LOVE our cakes, I must tell you that I treasure the time, the conversations, the laughter & the memories we share while bonding over baking.

Yield: 2-9 inch cakes with extra batter for a couple of sample cupcakes.


For the cake:

¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¾ cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1¼ tsp. coarse salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

For the filling:
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz of semisweet chips
4 oz of creme de menthe baking chips
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

For the frosting:
6 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3 tsp. mint extract

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Butter and flour 2-9 inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.

 In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted.  Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.  Bake 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache place the cream in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  In a medium mixing bowl(heatproof) place the semisweet chips and creme de menthe baking chips.  Immediately after the cream starts to boil, pour it over the chocolate.  Let stand about 1 minute.  With a whisk, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles.  When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated.  Transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator to chill and thicken the ganache a bit.  Whisk every 5-10 minutes to help it cool evenly.  Once the mixture is slightly thickened and no longer runny, you are ready to fill the cake.

To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don’t worry, it will come together!)  Stir in the mint extract and mix just until incorporated.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

A tale of apples, dieting and apple spice cupcakes 2 ways

 How bout them apples? 

Quite frankly I can't believe I can even stand to look at apples.

A little over a month ago as I sat down to do my charting, I felt an uncomfortable pinch at my waist.
My gosh, these are already SCRUBS & worse yet they are my 'fat girl' scrubs.  Sigh...

Yes, my baking obsession had gotten the best of me, or more appropriately, the worst.  I had been slowly gaining weight, but I was in denial.  I wore dresses instead of pants.  When I went to the beach, I sported a rash guard and surf shorts.  Sexy, right?  I avoided my scale like the plague.  But there was no denying the weight gain once my baggy scrubs started to have "screaming seams" as my co-worker, who is not known for mincing words, put it.  I won't go into the details of the diet, but let's just say it was intense. Strict!  NO SUGAR(processed or refined) or carbs whatsoever.  Well, I had done it to myself and drastic times called for drastic measures.

I baked without sampling.  That's right.  Not even a lick of the beater.  Not one single cookie crumb.  Torture!

I learned to enjoy baking through smell.   Baked good right up to the nose, eyes closed, and then inhale deep and long.  Ahhh.  My niece actually started offering me to "smell her food" before she ate it.  She so gets me.

I was allowed to eat 3 different fruits-apples, oranges and strawberries.  The oranges and strawberries saved my diet.  But the apples never cut it for me.  Worse yet, they were almost double the calories of the oranges and strawberries.  Didn't matter though.  I still had to eat them about once every 1.5 days.   Literally an apple a day.  Bleck.  Boring.

I made it through the diet.  My baggy scrubs were once again baggy.  I could wear my jeans(comfortably)again.  No more apples.  That was until I came across this recipe.

It IS fall and honestly, how bad can apples be in a cupcake?

Apples are AWESOME in a cupcake!!!

This cupcake is sturdy, almost muffin-like.  It has hearty chunks a fuji apples in every bite.  Very moist.  "10 out of 10" is my hubbie's rating.  And I reluctantly admit, that apples can be good in the right context.

I used 2 different frostings for these.  The first was my own experiment.  It is a whipped mascarpone honey frosting.  It is delicious, but the Hawaiian humidity got the best of it and it was more of a glaze as far as consistency.  I was hoping for big fluffy mounds of frosting.  Nonetheless, it was delicious.


The second frosting is homemade whipped cream and if you like a lighter, less sweet frosting, I would go with this one.

Both are good warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds and then topped with your choice of frosting.

Apple Spice Cupcake from Cupcakes


1/2 C unsalted butter at room temperature
3 apples(about 1lb), peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 T plus 3/4 C sugar
1 C AP flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground allspice
pinch of nutmeg
2 large eggs at room temp
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liner.  In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the 2 T of the butter.  Add the chunks of apples and the 2 T of sugar and cook, stirring often, until the apples are translucent and soft, 5-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and 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 T butter and the 3/4 C sugar together until light and fluffy, about 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 and fold in until just incorporated.
Divide evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.  Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Let them cool on a wire rack in the pans for 5 minutes.  Then remove from pan and place on wire rack an let them cool completely, about 1 hour.

Whipped frosting


2 and 1/4 C heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup powdered sugar


To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Honey-Mascarpone Whipped Frosting


8 oz mascarpone
6 T butter
1/2 vanill extract
3/4 powdered sugar
2 T honey


In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the mascarpone, butter and vanilla together until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.  Gradually beat in sifted powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly combined, scraping your bowl as needed.  Add 2 T honey and mix until combined.