I love you...

like a [phat] kid loves [cheese]cake

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Make Cake. But Only For the People I Love.

I really need to update this more often. I meant to update days ago, but you can blame my friend's 21st birthday, which turned into a birthweekend and left no time for such things. It was worth it though; birthdays mean cake, which means I get to be in the kitchen and practise and churn out more creations!

It began on Thursday with some surprise cupcakes. Since I quit my job, I unfortunately can't be buying baking supplies as often as I like [Goodbye, Tahitian vanilla beans]. Originally, I was thinking of doing an apple cupcake heaped with frosting and some sort of poached apple topping, but time and finances didn't allow for that, so I instead baked these: Cinnamon apple cupcakes filled with honey caramel and topped with almond cream-cheese buttercream.

Not bad, right?

The cupcake batter is very dense, due to the butter and the diced apples. The result is a more of a muffin than an actual cupcake, but if you are really craving the traditional texture, use oil instead of butter and add some more apple juice.

There isn't a recipe for the frosting because I simply combined some leftover cream cheese and almond buttercream together. As my friend dutifully notified us after taking a bite: "Oh my god, you guys, like the apples and the cinnamon made it crunchy like carrot cake but it really wasn't carrot cake, and the almonds..."

He went on to eat 5 of them.

21st Cupcakes

[makes 18]

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup apple juice
2 apples, diced and tossed with 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon and 1 Tbsp white sugar

Honey Caramel
1.25 cups white sugar
2 Tbsp honey
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

Mix all dry ingredients except for sugar and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing til just combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and apple juice. Starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternate adding milk and flour mixture to butter until just combined. Fold in the apples.

Drop batter into cupcake liners and bake until center is set, 20 minutes or so. Cool completely.

For the honey caramel:
Put sugar and honey in a heavy-bottomed pan and moisten with a little water until it looks like a thick slurry. Make sure there are no sugar granules on the sides of the pot. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until sugar turns a golden amber colour. Be careful, this happens faster than you think, and if you wait too long you will burn the caramel and you'll have to start again.

Remove from heat and whisk in the cream slowly. Once cream is incorporated, add salt and butter and whisk to combine. Let cool.

Put caramel into a pastry bag and poke into cupcake tops to fill. Spread frosting in a decorative pattern and top with sliced almonds.

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