Cupcake Day: Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream

Sweet spiced apple cupcakes paired with a tart cranberry buttercream. Two fall flavors in one mini cupcake bite! With just a few special ingredients you can have some extraordinary cupcakes!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

Before I forget… go say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my baby sister. :) How convenient that I’m posting a cupcake recipe today, huh? Here we are 25 years ago! Aww.

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

The best things come in small packages, I think [see above?!], and mini cupcakes and muffins are no exception. They’re pretty much my favorite things ever! I hadn’t made mini cupcakes in wayyy too long, so when Coleen of The Redhead Baker announced her celebration of cupcakes this fall, I KNEW mini cupcakes would be my contribution. And after much deliberation, I decided to make apple cupcakes. But what to top them with?

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

One of my Nashville friends has her own baking business and recently brought some sample cupcakes to our Bible study. She topped her apple cupcakes with a salted caramel buttercream, which was delicious, but I didn’t want to be a copycat. :) Cinnamon buttercream also sounded good too, but then my favorite applesauce variation came to mind. Ben and I love swirling cranberry sauce into homemade applesauce, so I thought a nice tart cranberry buttercream may be the way to go. And ohhh my–it is!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

Multiple strong, overly sweet flavors don’t always work for cupcakes in my book. So I like to keep either the cake or the frosting on the simple side, and really play up the other. The cake portion of these cupcakes are just a subtle, spiced apple flavor. I grated the apples to add some texture and fresh apple. I normally love small chunks of apple in cake and muffins, but the grated texture works better in mini cupcakes, imo. Then the frosting. Ohhh the frosting!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

The cranberry buttercream is stunning, isn’t it? It’s naturally that bright, bold shade of pink, and each bite is better than the last. This buttercream is sweet, with a fantastic cranberry-y tart aftertaste. Good thing this recipe makes a ton of buttercream… enough to keep in your fridge for a late night snack. :) Seeing these pink seasonal cupcakes just makes me so happy! I wish I could bring some to share with you in real life today. Enjoy!

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream | thepajamachef.com

Thanks for organizing this celebration of cupcakes, Coleen! Be sure to scroll down below the recipe to see lots of yummy cupcake recipes. Have a great Monday!!

four years ago: Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits

Mini Apple Cupcakes with Cranberry Buttercream

  • Servings: 32 mini cupcakes
  • Print

Ingredients:

for apple cupcakes from Chow

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded apples [2 medium Gala apples]
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour [156 1/4 grams]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 3 ounces buttermilk, room temperature

for cranberry buttercream from Baker By Nature

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Begin by shredding the apples with a box grater or food processor. Then press apples through a fine mesh sieve to drain as much juice out as possible.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. With a mixer, beat butter for 2 minutes until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat for another two minutes. Add egg and buttermilk, then beat for another minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Then, fold in apples.

Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling just below the top of the cup.

Bake for 14-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Cool completely before frosting.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare buttercream. Begin by placing cranberries and lemon juice in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cranberries pop and can be mashed easily. Mixture will look like a thick cranberry jam. Remove from heat, and working in batches, press mixture through a fine mesh sieve to separate the puree from the seeds/skin. This may be time consuming but is worth it. Cover and refrigerate puree to chill.

When ready to frost cupcakes, beat butter on medium-high for 2 minutes, until very smooth. Add in cold cranberry puree and beat for another minute until fully combined. Add powdered sugar, cup by cup and beat until desired thickness is achieved. I used about 4 cups. Stir in vanilla, then pipe or frost as desired.

Pssst! Look at all these other delicious cupcake recipes that my friends made for Cupcake Day! Mmm!

About these ads

SRC: Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes

These chocolate cupcakes are filled with sweet cream and topped with an easy chocolate frosting. They’re like your favorite storebought snack cakes, but homemade! 

Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes | thepajamachef.com

Ready for another installment of the Secret Recipe Club? I hope so, cause that’s what you’re getting! :) This month I made you some yummy cupcakes, courtesy of Micha at Cookin’ Mimi. Micha has a blog full of easy and delicious family-friendly recipes. Totally my style of cooking! Micha has been cooking with her family her whole life, and even got a pasta maker for a birthday gift around ages 13 or 14. How cool! I wish I lived nearby to borrow it, haha. After perusing her blog, I narrowed my recipe selection down to two things: these cupcakes and salmon burgers. I bought ingredients and planned to make them both, but life happened and these cupcakes are the only thing I’ve had a chance to make yet. Hope you don’t mind! Those burgers look great and I will make them soon. :)

I decided to make these cupcakes first because I was in a chocolately sort of mood, and I needed a dessert for a few events. I love being able to multitask recipes, huh? [And contrary to popular stereotypes about women, we aren’t all always chocoaholics. I sure am not!] Micha’s original recipe made a chocolate cream filled cake, not cupcakes. But her post was all about these being a take on Little Debbie snack cakes so I thought that turning her cake into cupcakes would be totally appropriate! And don’t they look fun?

Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes | thepajamachef.com

Since these filled cupcakes require making the cake itself, filling, AND frosting, it seems like a lot of steps. However, it’s really not as bad as it sounds. Spread this out over a leisurely morning and you’ve got a great dessert by lunch. The cake is moist, fluffy, and not overwhelmingly sweet–the perfect balance to the sweet cream filling and rich chocolatey frosting. I think this cake recipe will be one to make again and again, especially because it doesn’t use eggs. A great recipe for allergies! When making the filling I had to add some powdered sugar to make it hold together for spooning into the cupcake. I suspect that it wouldn’t have been necessary had it been cooler outside, or if I was just spreading the filling in between two layers of a cake. Oh, and in case you’re wondering… the spoons are in the dish with the cupcakes above to prevent them from bumping into each other on the drive to work. Pretty clever, if I do say so myself. Why buy a cupcake holder if you can DIY it, right? Enjoy! Thanks, Micha for a great recipe!

one year ago: Churro Cheesecake Bars 
two years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
three years ago: Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken
four years ago: Potato Soup

Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes

  • Servings: 36 cupcakes
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Print

from Cooking Mimi

Ingredients:

for cupcakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups water

for filling

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, optional

for frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • up to 3 cups powdered sugar
  • up to 1/3 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 36 muffin cups with paper liners or grease tins with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Add oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water and whisk until just combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full, then bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin cup comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

While cupcakes cool, make the filling. In a small saucepan, whisk together flour and milk. Cook over medium-low heat until thick, constantly stirring. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer to cool. When completely cool, add butter, vanilla, and sugar. Beat on high for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. If desired, add up to 1 cup powdered sugar to thicken.

When cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife to cut circle from the top of the cupcake, angling down to cut out a cone shaped piece. Spoon [or pipe in using a pastry bag] about 1 tablespoon of filling in the hole, then replace the bit of removed cake. Repeat until all cupcakes are filled.

To make the frosting, place butter and cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on medium until combined, then alternate adding milk and powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Stir in vanilla, then frost cupcakes.

On warm days, you may want to store in the refrigerator until ready to serve so the filling doesn’t melt.

Be sure to check out the other recipes from the SRC here:

Man Cupcakes

Hello! Ben is back with his guest post column entitled One Tablespoon Testosterone, or OTT for short. Enjoy!

———

The dog days of summer are the worst.  It’s not the heat or the constant reminder that I’m getting old because I don’t get a summer break; it’s the fact that football season is tantalizingly close, yet still outside my grasp.  So in order to build anticipation for the slew of meaty and manly foods I’ll be making for those thrilling fall weekends, I decided to make a manly dessert.

Now it’s fair to say that cupcakes are hardly manly.  They’re delicious and I would never turn one down, but they’re often decorated with icing flowers and other colorful and aesthetically pleasing designs.  So I set out to make cupcakes that were none of those things.  There’s nothing froofy about these cupcakes.  They’re not aesthetically pleasing, unless you consider a strip of bacon to be beautiful (and I do).  But they are delicious and can be appreciated by anyone (except maybe small children).  They make a great dessert for a Super Bowl party, or any old time.

Man Cupcakes [cupcake recipe from Betty Crocker, idea inspired by a newspaper clipping from my mother-in-law]
click to print

Ingredients:

for cupcakes

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 12 ounce dark beer, like Guinness
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs

for frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 ounces whiskey

toppings

  • chocolate chips
  • crispy bacon
  • salted peanuts

Directions:

We need to start by making the cupcakes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all those delicious cake ingredients together in a bowl, starting on low and then increasing to high until smooth.  When choosing your beer, I recommend Guinness Extra Stout as it blends wonderfully with the cocoa.  I can imagine that any chocolate stout variety would also be fantastic.  Pour the very devilish food cake batter into your cupcake papers (it should make two dozen-ish) and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  While these are baking, lick the beaters and bowl.

Once the cupcakes are baked, remove from oven and allow to cool.  Now let’s make the frosting.  Combine the ingredients in another bowl and mix together until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar if it’s too thin (or more whiskey if it’s too thick!).  1-2 ounces of whiskey is enough to flavor it, but feel free to add more if you want your cupcakes to burn a bit going down (yum!).

When the cupcakes have cooled frost them and add toppings.  Peanuts and chocolate chips are good options; but sticking with the manly theme, we should add some bacon.  Cook a few strips, cut/tear them into pieces, and add it to the top of your cupcakes.  Now stand back, admire your work, and hold back the tears of joy that will inevitably want to come; there’s no room for crying in manly cooking.

Time: 1 hour active [plus cooling].

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Margarita Cupcakes

Ahh, summertime! As of this weekend, it finally has started to feel like summer to me. My summer classes are over and my only responsibilities this summer are my part-time job and my internship. Freeeeeedom!

And what better way to celebrate freedom than a baked version of a classic cocktail? I actually made these Margarita Cupcakes for a Cinco de Mayo party but am just now getting around to sharing the recipe here. These cupcakes were a hit in both taste and appearance. It’s a fun treat to bite into the “salted” rim and experience an explosion of lime flavor, thanks to real lime juice and margarita mix.

My version was non-alcoholic but you could easily make an adult version if you are so inclined. I’ve actually never [!] tried a real margarita–I’ve only had the virgin version, but after this tasty treat, I think that is going to have to change ASAP.

I must admit, before making these Margarita Cupcakes I was a tiny bit skeptical about all the lime flavoring and considered subbing lemon juice for the lime juice and using strawberry margarita mix instead of lime. But I am so glad that I didn’t, because of the use of lime is what really makes these cupcakes stand out. It has been my observation that limes seem to be one of the most under-rated and negleted citrus fruits, at least for baking purposes. Why is that? Perhaps they are just seen as the smaller, tarted cousin of the lemon, best used for garnish or a hint of flavor in Mexican cuisine. But no! Do not buy into the propaganda! I won’t anymore. Rest assured, these cupcakes have moved limes front and center in my radar and I’m sure you will be seeing their presence again soon. Enjoy!

Margarita Cupcakes [from The Brunette Foodie]
printable version

Ingredients:

for the cake:

  • 1 – 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons super fine sugar [can be purchased or you can just pulse regular sugar in the food processor/blender to achieve the same result]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 can of frozen lime margarita mix [thawed for about 15 minutes before using]
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

for the icing:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 4- 1/2 to 5- 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • green food coloring
  • white or green sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pan with 18-20 liners or grease with Crisco/butter, as desired.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together egg whites, margarita mix, canola oil, and lime juice. Then, fold in dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Batter will be quite thin and runny.

Spoon mixture into prepared pans, filling liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks before icing.

When cupcakes are cooled, make icing. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter on medium until well blended. Add powdered sugar in 1/3-1/2 cup increments, blending fully in between additions. Ways to decide how much powdered sugar to add depends on the desired level of sweetness as well as level of thickness. Add a little bit of green food coloring to dye the icing pale green. [Note: my food coloring was more of a yellow-green, not green-green.]

Then, pipe icing around the outer edge of the cupcake and sprinkle the sprinkles [ha!] over the icing. Then fill in the center. I used a Wilton 32 tip to ice these cupcakes but feel free to use whatever tip you like. Serve and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

One day about a month ago, I just felt like cake. Ever get that vibe?? I’m not normally one who needs cake to live and breathe but when the weather started cooling down and the semester started heating up, I had no choice but to whip these little bites of joy up on a Saturday afternoon.

And I am so glad I did… because you have to try these babies.

They’re like Reese’s, only 10 times better. Each bite fills your palate with moist chocolate cake, melt in your mouth peanut butter filling, and rich chocolate frosting. They are so satisfying that one really will be enough. And men complaining that cupcakes are too girly because you can eat them in one bite? Ummm, no; these definitely require a fork.  I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe and made some peanut butter balls to serve as rich, gooey filling, then topped everything off with fluffy frosting. In the interest of full disclosure, I did try a new frosting recipe that I do not recommend. It was melty and hard to work with, and frankly did not taste all that wonderful. So I’ve just provided a previous frosting recipe that is amazing, so feel free to use that or your own personal favorite.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes [by Martha Stewart & The Pajama Chef]

makes 20

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 3/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons oil [Martha suggests safflower, I used canola]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter [regular, not all natural]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Frosting:

  • 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/8 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3 ounces fat free sour cream
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, melted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 20 paper liners.

In an electric mixer, combine 3/4 cup cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs one by one, mixing in between to fully combine. Then gradually add in buttermilk and mix to fully incorporate. Repeat with water, oil, and vanilla. Once all ingredients are added, mix on medium speed until smooth and batter is free from any lumps.

Pour batter into paper liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes.

While cupcakes are cooking, make peanut butter filling. In an electric mixer, combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy, then gradually incorporate powdered sugar. Shape into 20 1-inch balls, place on a baking sheet, and freeze until ready to use. There will likely be excess peanut butter mixture… save it to dip in chocolate like Buckeyes candies or just to eat. Yum!

Then, use a serrated knife to cut a small hole in the top of the cupcake.

Scoop out a little filling and stuff peanut butter ball in the hole.

Repeat for each cupcake and then allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile… make that frosting.

In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Add cocoa mixture to cream cheese concoction in 1/3 cup increments, mixing until fully incorporated. Pour in the chocolate [it helps to melt it in a glass measuring cup with a spout] while mixer is turned on low, then add sour cream and beat until combined, scraping the sides as neccessary.

Frost the cupcakes once cooled and enjoy!

Click here for the printable version: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite kind of cupcake? I have to admit, I’m really partial to funfetti. :)