As American As Apple Pie Cupcakes
I wanted to make something fun for the Fourth of July holiday and found the most adorable patriotic cupcake liners and toppers at a local craft shop. When I was brainstorming a fun cupcake recipe to experiment with, Adam said “What’s more American than Apple Pie?!” And thus, “As American as Apple Pie Cupcakes” were born.
I spiced up gluten-free vanilla cupcake batter with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Then I created a cinnamon buttercream (that is pretty darn epic if I do say so myself!) studded with flavorful bits of ground cinnamon. If you left off the apple pie topping and served the cupcakes as-is, these taste like cinnamon roll cupcakes. And they’re awesome like that, too.
The apple pie topping is made from peeled, sliced Gala apples that I sautéed with butter, cinnamon, sugar and cornstarch to thicken things up!
Our Gala apples seem to be in season and huge, plus I felt like they’d add the right amount of sweetness to the topping. This would work with any apples you have on hand – If you go with a tart apple such as a Granny Smith, then I’d recommend adding a touch more sugar to the mixture.
If you want to get really cute, you can create a lattice design with your frosting, to emulate the topping of a real apple pie. They’re adorable topped with an American Flag pick. Just look at that!
Or, if you prefer a more even frosting-to-cupcake ratio (or more frosting than cupcake, like I do!) then you can create a “well” of frosting and fill it with the apple pie topping. It looks mouthwatering and beautiful dripping down the edges a bit. You can’t go wrong. Next time I might get a little crazy and drizzle some caramel on top for a caramel apple flavor.
One important lesson I learned with these cupcakes, is that they taste best fresh! I recommend making these the same day you plan on serving them. They’re easy as pie (See what I did there?) and don’t take too much time to whip up, so if you can make them same-day, that is definitely best.
However if you have to make them a day in advance, whatever you do, don’t put them in the fridge! The fridge dries out the cakes and makes the topping a little gummy. Even if you let them come back to room temperature, the texture won’t be the same again. (It’s okay to leave these cupcakes out at room temperature for up to two days.)
I hope you all have some fantastic plans for the holiday weekend! You can find me lounging with a cocktail in one hand, and an apple pie cupcake in the other!
Hugs, kisses + yummy dishes… xoxo
As American As Apple Pie Cupcakes
- YIELDS 14-16 cupcakes (depending on how much batter you pour in your cups!)
InstructionsFor the Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Fill cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- In a stand (or electric) mixer, mix together the butter, egg, egg whites, vanilla, sour cream and milk on low speed until slightly combined. There will still be a few lumps from the butter.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg and salt.
- Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Don't over-mix.
- Fill cupcake liners with batter, so they're a little more than halfway full.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Don't over-bake! You don't want the cupcakes to dry out.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 2 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack to continue cooling while you prepare the frosting and apple pie topping.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the 3 teaspoons cornstarch and 4 Tablespoons of water until combined. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan or skillet over low heat.
- Stir in the peeled, chopped apples until they are coated in the butter.
- Stir in the cinnamon and sugar.
- Turn up the heat to medium and continue to cook for about five minutes.
- Add the 1/2 cup of water and continue to stir, until the water starts to bubble. Continue to cook until the apples are just cooked and starting to become tender.
- Mix in the cornstarch-water slurry and stir until combined.
- Keep stirring until the mixture thickens up.
- Set aside to cool.
- With a table stand of hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the powdered sugar, half & half and vanilla extract on low speed until smooth.
- Cut the butter sticks in half, and add half a stick of butter at a time, beating until each half stick is incorporated before adding the next.
- Continue beating on high speed for five minutes, or until all of the butter is incorporated and the frosting is super fluffy.
- Add in the ground cinnamon and mix for another 30 seconds to a minute, until it's evenly incorporated throughout the frosting.
- For the lattice-style frosting option: Top each cupcake with a small scoop of the apple mixture. With a piping bag fitted with a small tip (or with a Ziplock bag cut at the tip!) create the lattice design on top of the apple topping.
- For the frosting "well" filled with apple topping option: Pipe a "well" of frosting on top of each cupcake, leaving a hole in the center. Fill the hole with the apple pie topping mixture.
- Or you can top with frosting and apple pie topping however you'd like!