Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'm Back! And I Have Apple Cider Cupcakes!

Hello you beautiful people. I've missed you! It's been over a month since my last post and things have just been completely chaotic lately. I started my masters program a couple of weeks ago, had a trip to Savannah that lasted a bit too long for my taste (delayed flights and unexpected overnight stays in Charlotte) and then I had a bad allergic reaction immediately following the trip resulting in a severe sore throat and a bad case of hives that kept me out of work all last week. Needless to say things have been nuts, but they're finally settling down now. 

Savannah is probably one of my favorite places I have been to so far. I love cities with a historic charm to them (i.e. Boston, Charleston, etc.) and Savannah has that charm with a mix of funky college town thanks to the Savannah College of Art and Design. I was also able to finally dine at Paula Deen's Lady and Sons Restaurant, which did not disappoint. I know Paula has come under some fire as of late, but she's been a hero of mine since I was in high school (most kids watch Saturday morning cartoons. I watched Saturday morning Food Network shows waiting for Paula to come on). I was amazed at how many items in her gift shop actually poked fun at her. The butter dish above was too perfect not to purchase. Even though I've never used a butter dish in my life, it cracks me up every time I see it.

Before I left for Savannah I was really fighting the whole autumn thing. Pumpkin-flavored everything was starting to pop up at Dunkin Donuts and liquor stores everywhere and I refused to take part. While I was in Savannah it was sunny, humid, and in the 90's all week. After sweating through a few too many tops I finally decided I was ready for sweaters, scarves, boots, and all the sweet tastes of fall.

A while ago I had this idea to make apple cider cupcakes. In the Berkshires there is this great little apple orchard called Bartlett's Orchard (where I also had my first job). They made phenomenal apple cider doughnuts. I certainly had my fill of them when I used to work there, but I thought it would be delicious to try to make something similar in cupcake form with cream cheese frosting, because that is obviously the best of all the frosting types.

I used apple cider from Bartlett's, added similar spices that you would see in a spice cake, and voila: a little taste of fall wrapped up in a cupcake paper! I hope you'll enjoy these as much as I did!

Apple Cider Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 cups apple cider, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz. softened cream cheese (1 1/2 packages)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line cupcake trays with liners.
  3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
  4. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a small mixing bowl. Add in four parts, alternating the apple cider and the vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.
  7. Pour batter into cupcake pan until about 2/3 full.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.
  1. Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Add confections sugar until completely incorporated.
  3. Add vanilla.

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