Monday, November 18, 2013

Fruit Puree Meets November: Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Dear baking world, 

Sorry about two posts in two days. It can only mean two things: exam week and procrastination. (The exam is tomorrow about mammals if anybody was wondering/cares.)

What a crazy week. I interviewed to work at a camp this summer where I would teach kids how to bake. What better job could I ask for!? I've already started mentally planning lessons (What kind of flour does what?! What is the difference between oil and butter?! The necessary vanilla cupcake!!!), but I'm trying not to count my chickens before they hatch, but I want to count, I really do. 

Any who, here is a recipe I've been hankering to make for a few weeks. Nothing reminds me of fall more than applesauce. My parents make homemade applesauce every fall and frankly it's the only thing I've been eating for every meal these past three weeks. (They gave me a bunch.)

This recipe is a special one and there is a teaching moment here. First, there is very little butter in this recipe. Why? Because applesauce, or any fruit purée (which is why fall is such a great time to make "healthy" desserts) act as an oil replacement. They also make the baked good really moist (My roommate, through a large bite, says, "These are so moist!" There's some proof if you needed any). I still need to try out avocado (ole!) and tomato (WHAT?! But seriously.) 

Second, these babies are better when they're refrigerated overnight. Their main flavor comes from their spices, a heady/seductive/mind-boggling blend of ginger, clover and cinnamon. In order for these spices to take hold, they must sit overnight.

When I whipped up the frosting this afternoon and threw one of these down the hatch was probably one of the best moments of my day. I've missed you, cupcakes, I really have. (Dumps cookies, which I've been dating/making for the past month and I'm not exactly sure why.) The only criticism I have is not enough spice. I followed what the recipe asked for, but I wanted a little more cinnamon and a little more cloves.

So lather on the cream cheese frosting, take a bite and sit back as the flavors of fall, captured in this unassuming little cupcake, flood your senses. MMMM!!! It made me happy, too. 

Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes
yield 12

half stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (although I accidentally used cinnamon and it made no difference taste wise.)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves

Cream together butter, sugar and the vanilla for 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well. Add the applesauce. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. At low speed, add the dry to the wet ingredients until just incorporated. Split evenly amongst the 12 cups. They won't be huge cupcakes, but they pack quite a punch.

(With a tablespoon of cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes come in at about 166 calories, so throw a few back if you must. I know I did.)

Cream cheese frosting
1 oz. cream cheese
1 tbsp. butter
dash of milk
dash of vanilla
powdered sugar to your liking
dash of cinnamon

Cream the cream cheese, butter, milk. Add vanilla to taste. Add powdered sugar to desired thickness. Throw in a little bit of cinnamon. (See, frosting is not an exact science.)

Ignore my weirdly colored pinky.

Mmmm I also made this beauty for dinner. It was delicious.

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