My favorite Cupcake Goddess, Chockylit, is having another cupcake round-up this fall! I didn't participate last year because I was admittedly too chicken. I mostly like to stalk her blog from the shadows of my secret foodie world (shhhh). But this time I'm taking a more TA-WANDA! approach to my baking. Watch out. The cupcake round-up theme is "re-invention." Inspiration came immediately. I would re-invent my Grandma Richman's Fresh Apple Bundt Cake. Oh, how I love this cake. At the urging of my sister I made this cake just a few weeks ago for a "girls night" I hosted. While peeling and chopping the apples I could vividly see Grandma, house dress and apron, standing in her small, tidy kitchen doing the exact same thing. As I pulled the bundt cake from the oven memories of her flooded my kitchen as quickly as the delicious baked-apple aroma. My friends, this is the epitome of comfort food. Period. Final.
A note on re-invention: I'm quite certain Grandma would have considered her Fresh Apple Bundt Cake (perfect in every way, every time) in the form of cupcakes as re-invention enough. And that was good enough for me. But to be fair, I brainstormed what else I could "do" to the cupcakes. I thought about stuffing them, but with what? The cake certainly doesn't need anything added because the chunks of baked apple and pecans already add plenty of texture and flavor. It was important the soul of the cake would remain essentially hers, no matter what twist I used in my own version. I decided not to mess with the cake itself, and I'm so glad I didn't. Hence, my re-invention comes with the topping: caramel and apples, because it doesn't get any better than that. How 'bout dem apples? Chewy, thick caramel dipped on a crisp apple wedge was the perfect accompaniment to both the richness of the cake and the sweetness of the icing. I used Grandma's buttercream recipe although I doubled the ingredients and thickened it with more powdered sugar until I reached the consistency I wanted for piping. Sorry, there's no cupcakes left to share. I ate them all.
Fresh Apple Cupcakes
4 cups apple, peeled and diced small
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
Mix apples and sugar in large bowl. Add oil, eggs, nuts, and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt, soda, and cinnamon. Add to wet mixture and stir until combined. Divide batter evenly into 24 cupcake papers.
Bake at 350° for 21-23 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Buttercream Frosting (I doubled this recipe)
¼ stick butter, softened to room temperature
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups powdered sugar
Dash of salt
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. lemon extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
Using a hand mixer combine butter, cream, salt, vanilla, lemon, and almond in a medium sized bowl. Add powdered sugar until you have reached desired consistency.
Caramel Apple Topping
Fresh apple, thinly slices
1 bag wrapped caramels, about 50
Spray apple slices with lemon juice to help keep them from turning brown. Melt the caramels over medium low heat. Dip apple slices into caramel and let stand 5 minutes on parchment paper before assembling cupcakes.