Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve said it once, I will say it again. I am not an expert baker. Baking requires such exact measurements and methods that its basically a science. Cooking is more of an art to me, where you have more freedom to experiment and try new things, and still end up with a great dish. When I experiment with baking, I usually end up with a result that’s less than ideal. Or less than edible, on occasion.

But you guys, I did it! I came up with a cupcake and it doesn’t suck! I based it off my favorite vanilla cake recipe, kept adding things here and there, and it worked! I mean, it didn’t work right off the bat. This is probably my 3rd or 4th try at some variation of this cupcake. Finally, I’ve perfected it.

This is a mash up of two of my favorite desserts. It’s the apple pie cupcake! It’s topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting that will leave you licking the bowl. Let’s get to it!

Yields 12 cupcakes

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt (can be Greek yogurt)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 can apple pie filling
  1. Place liners in a cupcake/muffin pan (for a dozen large cupcakes). Lightly spritz the bottom of the liners with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 tsp cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. In the mixer bowl, whisk 1 cup of sugar into the melted butter until smooth. Add egg, yogurt, milk, vanilla and brown sugar and stir on the lowest setting until well combined. Slowly add dry ingredients while the mixer is running, until batter is thick and smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with remaining 2 tsp of cinnamon. Distribute the cinnamon sugar into the cupcake liners, creating an even layer in the bottom of each. Fill each liner with batter until they are 3/4’s of the way full. (It should be about 3 Tbsps each)
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
  5. Using a small knife, carefully cut a hole in the top of a cupcake, about an inch in diameter. Remove the top, about 1/8 of an inch thick, and set aside. Using a small spoon, hollow out a hole in the center of the cupcake. Make sure you don’t scoop out so much that you break through the bottom.
  6. On a cutting board, spoon out some apple pie filling and chop the apple pieces into tiny chunks. Fill the cupcake with the apple and replace the top of the cupcake to seal it. Repeat for each cupcake.

Here’s a visual of filling the cupcakes.

The top two have been hollowed out. The top left has the apple filling inside, the top right is empty. The bottom two cupcakes have been filled and covered, ready to be frosted.

Speaking of which, here’s the frosting recipe.

  • 6 Tbsp softened butter
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese in the mixer on a low setting, until light and fluffy. Slowly add sugar while the mixer is running. Add vanilla and cinnamon, and continue mixing until well combined and smooth. (You may need to stop and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula a couple times.

My husband used to make fun of my frosting skills in the beginning. I bought some bags and the fancy tips to try and make them look pretty, and always ended up just taking a butter knife and smoothing them over. Not this time! I think I’m actually getting the hang of it.

Granted, these are three of the best. There were a couple unfortunate looking ones, but those were eaten before photo time. You obviously don’t have to spend time getting fancy with the frosting, it’s fine to just use a knife and spread it on. I am just trying to teach myself, and practice makes perfect.

What I like about this cupcake is the cinnamon sugar crust on the bottom. Spraying the liner before filling helps it to crisp up without crumbling or sticking. It’s just this added little crunch element that you don’t always get in a cupcake. I like having that play of textures.

And speaking of textures, I love giving these to friends and seeing the apple filling surprise them when they bite into it. If you pack it in well, it’s not going to spill out or anything. I just love that at first glance, it’s simple looking. Then you unwrap it and take a taste, and you get these fun elements like the crust and the filling.

If you love cinnamon as much as I do, this is your dream frosting. It’s not too sweet, but it compliments the apple so well. There’s cinnamon and brown sugar in the actual cupcake, but not enough to to really make the entire thing taste the same. It just helps bring all the elements together.

This is a pretty easy cupcake to make, but the result is so much more interesting than just a plain vanilla or chocolate cupcake. Kids will like it, adults will like it, and hey, with all that apple and cinnamon, you might as well have one for breakfast the next day. Almost the same as coffee cake, right? (Not really, but I won’t judge. They are really great with a cup of coffee though.)

Well I can’t promise a ton of baking recipes in the near future, this was pretty much a fluke. I’ll also be hitting the road on Monday to drive from California to Massachusetts for my wedding with my friends. I have a couple posts ready to go for while I’m traveling, so I won’t be disappearing for very long!

Make sure to follow my Instagram, I’m sure I’ll have some updates from the road. Happy cooking, and baking!

 

Spending Time Back Home

I think everyone considers where they grew up “home”, even after they’ve moved away. I was born and raised on the South Shore of Massachusetts and luckily for me most of my family still lives there. I went to school in Georgia, but returned after college for about seven years until my move to California last September.

A few days ago, I traveled to Massachusetts alone, as my husband couldn’t get away from work. The trip was really more for business than pleasure, because we are having our wedding there in two and a half months and a lot to get done. I should probably explain that my husband is in the Navy and like many others in that situatuation, we had a quickie courthouse marriage. Now I am planning my dream wedding celebration so we can say our vows in front of family and friends. And to, you know, party and drink and eat.

So on Valentine’s Day I flew from Los Angeles to Boston. After an hour and a half delay, a five and a half hour flight, and the shock of being thrust into record breaking cold tempatures, I was home. Unfortunately I failed to take a picture in my post-travel hunger daze, but my wonderful family was kind enough to have chicken tikka masala from our favorite Indian restaurant waiting for me upon arrival. That’s love and understanding.

Day one started with a 9am dress fitting. I haven’t seen my gown in 6 months and luckily it fit almost perfectly! The way you reward that is with French toast. My mom, sister and I had the best breakfast at one our favorite local spots, The Eating Establishment, pictured above. To be able to visit places that you have known since you were a kid is such a cool and special experience.

The best part is that the day only got better from there. After  finding and buying my moms dress for the wedding, we moved on to what is hands down the most incresdible part of wedding planning. Cake tasting.

Suddenly all the worry about bridesmaid dresses and stress about if the florist can be booked in time dissolved. I was mesmerized by a beautiful plate of seven different slices of delicious cake. The only hard part was having to choose a favorite.

Day two we ran a few more wedding related errands. A lot of stuff got taken care of and there’s really no need to break it all down. I can sum it up by saying at the time I was a ball of anxiety, but next week when I sit down with my to-do list, I’ll be feeling great about all we accomplished. Shout out to my sister/maid of honor for keeping my organized!

We had one more family meal the last night at another favorite restaurant, Not Your Average Joes, an American style eaterie that serves up seasonal specials and local ingredients. I usually would have tried something of the monthly specials, but since it has been so long since I had been there, I ordered my staples. The table shared fresh foccacia bread and buffalo Caribbean chicken tenders with pineapple salsa, and for my entree I had a Tuscan chicken sandwich, smothered in fresh mozzarella. YUM.

It was a short but sweet trip, and I am glad I got to break in my new travel category with a visit home. Just like my cooking, it’s nice to start with things that are familiar and beloved as a jumping off point. Luckily I have some more adventures coming up over the next couple months that I can wait to share.