Thursday, February 25, 2010

Apple N Honey Cupcakes

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would name a bakery if I ever opened one and finally decided on Sugar Bear Sweetery. Sugar bear is an affectionate nickname that my mom uses often and since my return to the kitchen was inspired by her and my other family, I thought the name was fitting. I also liked the idea of sweetery rather than bakery, it just seemed a bit more unique.

So from there, I started to wonder what sorts of items I would like to make. I wanted something with honey to go along with the Sugar Bear name. One of the recipes that had been passed down to me was an applesauce cake recipe from my grandmother. I thought this would be a great base for a cupcake, with a few changes:

1. This cake was originally meant to be baked in a tube pan, but switching to cupcakes does not make much of a difference.
2. The recipe called for Crisco, but since many people are trying to steer away from trans fats, I changed that to butter.
3. I added vanilla (a favorite of mine...I am guilty of just pouring in extra vanilla without measuring it in many cases, but I actually put in a defined amount this time).
4. I added an extra spice other than the cinnamon and cloves called for in the recipe. That spice is my secret.
5. The original recipe calls for the addition of raisins and chopped nuts. While these work well in the cake, I decided against them for the cupcakes.
6. I put some of the batter into the lined cupcakes, then added a dollop of apple butter before adding more batter to fill the cups 2/3's full. This was a great idea, it adds a nice soft surprise in the center and keeps the cupcakes especially moist.
7. I went with a whipped cream frosting that was sweetened with honey rather than sugar. I wasn't sure how sweet this would end up, but it resulted in a perfect combination. And of course I had to add some vanilla to the frosting.
8. The amount of whipped cream frosting was a lot more than I needed. I will have to think of how I will want to use that in the next few days because I would hate to throw it away!

I took all but a few of the cupcakes into work and they went fast! I was very excited about that. I had begun to question the idea of having whipped cream frosting rather than a powdered sugar frosting that would set up harder. But people were commenting that the frosting was just perfect for the intensity of the cupcake. The first words out of my mouth after tasting the first cupcake was "It tastes like Christmas!" The apple flavor and spices are just so warm and Christmas-like.

I stored the few cupcakes that I set aside for myself and my husband in the refrigerator. I would take one out for me an hour before I wanted it so that it would be closer to room temperature, but my husband wanted his still cold. Both ways seemed to work well, it just came down to personal preference. Though they didn't last that long, I would guess that these cupcakes could be stored well in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

So overall, I believe this was a great success! One of the few times that I think I will keep the recipe just the way that it is without tweaking it when I make it again. Well, maybe I would make a double batch next time!

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