These cupcakes were my de facto holiday cupcakes – I made them for a work holiday party in December, and then for New Year’s Day (my Dad’s birthday) in January of this year. I will also likely be making these (with pure VT maple syrup for the frosting) for my friend’s wedding in September! I am making all the cupcakes for her wedding, and am excited to explore fall flavors with a variety of different cupcakes.
I think that every year should start off with a baking celebration, and so decided to make these cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting for my dad’s 62nd birthday. He has a major sweet tooth, to the point where essentially every meal ends with dessert. I think that is a brilliant idea, so I made something a bit savory and sweet for him and my mom and me. I love apples and love fruit in desserts – and there is nothing that is not improved by cream cheese frosting.
For my former work holiday party, my colleague and I were tasked with making all the desserts for our catered lunch. I made apple cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting this time, in honor of my VT colleagues, salted caramel corn, and kitchen sink cookies. I’ll add the recipes for the latter two soon, but did include my adaption of the maple cream cheese frosting below – make sure to use real maple syrup and not the pancake syrup, which is essentially sugar and oil. Real maple syrup tastes so much better!
My mom was also given a new KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas, pictured above – I have never used one of these, but with all the baking I do it’s on the top of my list of things that I need to buy/be gifted with. So I took advantage of being able to use this while home in Los Angeles for the holidays, and thus included directions for how to use with a stand mixer, and also a regular hand mixer – which honestly, is just as great a tool, so don’t feel pressured to have a stand mixer for simple baking such as cupcakes and cookies and similar.
Recipe from Baked Perfection
This will make about 24 cupcakes.
3 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice – I used orange juice with pulp, but without also works!
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated apples – any type works, I used what we had on hand. Granny Smith apples are also nice for baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit/176 degrees celsius.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. In a stand mixer or a separate bowl with a hand beater, beat together the eggs and white and brown sugars until creamy. Beat in the the orange juice, vanilla, and vegetable oil.
Adding a bit of the flour mixture at a time, mix until just combined – on a stand mixer, this would be mixing at the lowest speed, until the flour is mixed in. Stir in the grated apples with a spoon. Fill each cupcake liner about 4/5 of the way with the batter, and place in the pre-heated oven.
Bake 22-26 minutes, and take out of the oven. Let the cupcakes sit for about five minutes still in the pan, and then pop them out carefully and place on a cooling rack. Make sure the cupcakes are cooled completely before you start frosting.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 oz cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), at room temperature
about 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or to a large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cinnamon and vanilla, and mix until combined.With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar about one half cup at a time (stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice) until completely incorporated.
Tip: The more powdered sugar you add, the stiffer the frosting becomes. I added more powdered sugar to the recipe as I didn’t have my usual frosting decorating set, so had to use a spoon to frost the cupcakes. If you want a creamier frosting, then use less powdered sugar. That’s why it’s helpful to add it in increments, so you can control the stiffness of the frosting.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup – not Aunt Jemima or another syrup, it should be real maple syrup, which is amazing! My one colleague swears by VT maple syrup and calls it liquid gold (he’s from VT) – so I always use that in my cooking.
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Directions are the same as above for the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. I added more maple and powdered sugar to this recipe, again to make it stiffer and more flavorful. Enjoy!