Sunday, October 17, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes

How is it already late-October? It seems just yesterday I went for a swim in the neighborhood pool under the piping hot sun. Now, I'm sitting snugly by the computer, clutching a mug of hot tea while outside, the wind blows the trees into a bow. Cloudy gray skies have replaced the brilliantly blue ones; the once verdant leaves are now a mosaic of yellow, brown, and red. I threw together a rough list of things I want to do and eat this fall.

Things to Do and Eat This Fall
1. pumpkins! (boy do I have a lot of pumpkin recipes to try)
2. dark nail polish
3. soups and stews
4. butternut squash
5. long walks around my neighborhood
6. sweatpants
7. kale

I wanted to make a dent in my pumpkin recipe collection and was going to share a pumpkin pie brownie cupcake that was vegan, to boot. However, the cupcake didn't work. It just tasted so...blah. The brownie batter was rubbery and tasted only faintly of chocolate. The pumpkin layer on top was okay, but actually tasted better raw.

I decided to put aside my pumpkin recipes for now, anyways, and try cinnamon apple cupcakes. The original recipe is actually a coffee cake, but I decided to make cupcakes instead. That way, I can cut the recipe in half and make smaller portions. These cinnamon apple cupcakes are pretty good. They're moist with the cream cheese and speckled with chunks of apples. Cinnamon sugar is sprinkled on top, creating a slightly crunchy top layer. It's not something I'd make again, but today, when I made a failed mushroom risotto and the dirty dishes piled in the kitchen sink, one of those cupcakes kind of hit the spot.

Cinnamon Apple Cupcakes
adapted from Cookinglight

1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces block-style cream cheese, softened (about 3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups chopped, unpeeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 large)
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, vanilla, and cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

3. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Combine 2 tablespoons cinnamon mixture and apple in a bowl, and stir apple mixture into batter. Pour batter into an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.

4. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack, and cut using a serrated knife.

Note: You can also make this cake in a 9-inch square cake pan or a 9-inch springform pan; just reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes.

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