If you are looking for an impressive way to use your abundant supply of apples this season, then look no further. These apple cupcakes will knock the socks off any food-savvy guest. I make these every fall for an annual apple tradition that started about six years ago. My friend hosts dinner at her home and each of us brings a menu item that has apples as an ingredient. I really don’t think I would be allowed in the door without them. 🙂
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 medium Fuji or Gala apples peeled, cored and sliced into small cubes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 Tb vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 cups powdered sugar
Red food coloring
2 containers of red sprinkles (I used Betty Crocker)
12 brown Tootsie Rolls
12 green Tootsie Rolls
Line cupcake pan with red Wilton large cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk first 7 ingredients together into a large bowl. Set aside. Combine butter and sugar in a standalone mixer with paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, combining throughly between additions. Add vanilla. With mixer on low, slowly add 1/3 of dry ingredients, then add 3/4 cup applesauce. Add 1/3 more of dry ingredients and follow with remaining applesauce. Add last batch of dry ingredients, mix until combined. Fold in chopped apples.
Using a measuring cup add enough cake batter to each cupcake liner until it reaches the top. Smooth tops with a butter knife and place in center rack of oven to bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Add remaining batter to miniature cupcake liners and bake those for about 20 minutes.
Allow cupcakes to cool thoroughly before frosting. (Can be made 1 day in advance.)
For the frosting, add all frosting ingredients to a large bowl and mix until combined. Tear off a sheet of paper towel and lay flat on countertop. Pour all red sprinkles in center of paper towel. Using an offset spatula, frost cupcakes one at a time. Dip frosted cupcake immediately into pile of sprinkles rotating cupcake as necessary until all of top is covered in sprinkles. Continue to frost and dip cupcakes until you have a shimmering dozen of red apples.
Lastly, take the brown Tootsie Rolls and shape into a stem shape. You may need to microwave them for five seconds to soften them up a bit. For the green Tootsie Rolls microwave for about five seconds each and use a rolling-pin to roll them flat. Cut out leaf shapes with a knife and add details such as the veins.
Refrigerate cupcakes until a half hour before devouring.
The apples obviously do not fall far from the tree.