11.01.2010

treats + sweets.

Happy November 1. I just love November, and I'm so happy it's here, for so many reasons (a big one: Andrea's wedding in 19 days!). Before we officially bid October adieu - I have to share with you the Halloween-ish cupcakes I made over the weekend for our little pumpkins.
Last week, I was debating over carrot, pumpkin and plain, old chocolate cake for some treats for M, M + M... and then this perfect candidate came along from Smitten Kitchen - as if I can pass up anything with cream cheese or apples.
Made into cupcakes, this cake is a keeper, especially when you make SK's homemade applesauce, and have loads of it leftover to freeze (or, in Friday night's case, to enjoy with my mom's roasted pork loin).
I like making cupcakes in stages (something I picked up from Ashley to avoid last-minute frazzles); Applesauce was made Friday, the cupcakes were baked on Saturday and frosted on Sunday morning.

SK's amazing recipe is below, with a few of my notes added for making the cake into cupcakes. You can view her original recipe for an 8-/9-inch cake here, which is accompanied by mouth-watering images and helpful hints.
Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 14-16 cupcakes (or one 8- / 9-inch cake)

For the cake or cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce (recipe + details coming tomorrow)
1/2 cup walnuts (optional, but a must for me), toasted, cooled and chopped

For the frosting: I doubled the quantities below for cupcakes. 
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the wells of cupcake pans (if not lining, butter or spray your pans).

Dry roast the walnuts in a saute pan for about 5 minutes, or until you can smell the oils from the nuts. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together 1-3/4 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a bowl, set aside. (If you are not using walnuts, use the full 2 cups of flour at this point.)

Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three waves, scraping the sides of the bowl each time, until well combined.

Chop and sprinkle your walnuts with the remaining 1/4 cup flour, toss to coat evenly and mix into the batter.

Divide batter evenly into cupcake pans, about 2/3 full per well, and bake until golden brown, testing with a toothpick until the center of comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes (note: if baking cake, cooking time is 35 to 40 min.). Cool in pan 15 minutes, remove and let cool completely on cooling racks before frosting.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift together the confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until fully incorporated. Spread evenly over your cooled cupcakes.

Frosting note: I doubled SK's frosting quantities because I have a heavy hand when it comes to frosting cupcakes. I had a small amount leftover, but I'm okay with that. We'll enjoy with... apple slices?
(And, if it's Halloween... top with candy corns.)

More notes:
+ The walnut / flour situation is explained in detail here (it's a BC method, so, we know it works).
+ The cake sans frosting would be a great breakfast muffin to pair with coffee. But, I'm promising that once you try it with the frosting, you'll never go back.
+ Stay tuned: details on SK's homemade applesauce coming tomorrow.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I heard good things about your applesauce. The cupcakes look delicious and I'd put autumn M & M's on them for November.

Thanks for the details on the recipe.
Karen