Spiced Apple, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Cupcakes

Apple Walnut Goat Cheese Cupcakes

These cupcakes were inspired by pizza. I know that sounds weird, but we like to make our own pizza at home, and Aaron and I both love a pizza that is topped with thinly sliced granny smith apples, toasted walnuts, and big globs of goat cheese. Sounds strange, but it works.

The cupcake epiphany happened as I was drizzling honey on leftover goat cheese and spooning it into my mouth and thinking how good the combo would be as frosting. I wish I could explain to you how much I love this honey goat cheese frosting. Maybe someday in the future, food blogs will offer a tasting feature, but for now, you’ll just have to make it. I think I’m going to start adding goat cheese to all of my cream cheese frostings from now on, because it really adds something special. It would be pretty great on pumpkin, carrot, or even red velvet cupcakes, but I liked the fact that these apple cupcakes were slightly different from the standard cupcake fare.

Since these cupcakes have cream cheese and goat cheese in the frosting, you shouldn’t leave them at room temperature for more than a few hours. However, the frosting doesn’t get too firm in the fridge and the cupcakes don’t dry out too easily, so you don’t need to bring them to room temp before eating them. Instant gratification = :) Most cupcakes are best when they’re fresh, but I actually liked these better on day 2 and even 3. I can’t tell you how long they keep after that, because they disappeared pretty quickly.

Apple Walnut Goat Cheese Cupcakes

As for the sugared walnuts, make sure you separate them while they are cooling on the parchment. Otherwise, you’ll end up with walnut clusters that look kind of antlers. But hey, they’re festive, right?

Spiced Apple, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the Spiced Apple Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups packed (about 2 small) peeled and coarsely grated tart apples, such as Granny Smith (I pulsed mine in the food processor a few times).
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • For the Honey Goat Cheese Frosting:
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) soft goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 cup (115 grams) confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • For the Sugared Walnuts:
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

    For the Spiced Apple Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper lines.
  2. In a large bowl,whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and salt.
  3. Add the oil, eggs, and vanilla extract and stir until combined.
  4. Stir in the grated apples and walnuts.
  5. Divide the batter between the 12 paper liners and bake 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
  7. For the Honey Goat Cheese Frosting:
  8. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, goat cheese, and butter on medium speed until fluffy.
  9. Add the confectioner's sugar and beat on low to combine.
  10. Turn up the mixer to medium and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add the honey and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  12. Put the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.
  13. Top each cupcake with a sugared walnut (recipe below).
  14. For the Sugared Walnuts:
  15. In a small skillet, combine the sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt.
  16. Heat on medium and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles thick caramel.
  17. Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts.
  18. Spread the mixture onto parchment paper to cool.
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Cupcake recipe adapted from myrecipes.com
Sugared walnut recipe adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Lemon Berry Angel Food Cupcakes

Angel Food Cupcakes

My wedding is 2 weeks from tomorrow. Wow, that snuck up on me so fast! I’m just now realizing how behind I am on everything. For example, I should have started a Pinterest board the day after I got engaged (does a cake pinterest board count?) or maybe I should have though about how I want to wear my hair before now. And I probably should not have waited until this week to start my wedding diet. Does angel food count as diet food? Probably not. I’m pretty much the worst bride ever.

Luckily, these angel food cupcakes are easy enough for even a stressed out bride to be. Believe it or not, this was my first time making angel food cake. I was a little intimidated by the folding of the egg whites, but it’s easier than you might think. I’ve added a link to a tutorial just before the recipe in case you’re not sure how to do it. Also, if you don’t have superfine sugar, you can easily make your own by putting granulated sugar through the food processor. Don’t skip this step- your cupcake will have a better texture.

For those of you who like the not too sweet frostings but don’t want to mess with European style buttercreams, this frosting is for you. I first blogged about this sturdy whipped cream frosting in one of my very early blog posts (please ignore the pictures!) but haven’t posted about it since because some people wrote me and told me that they had trouble getting it to work. However, I’ve made it quite a few times since then and I’ve adjusted some things as well as come up with some troubleshooting tips.

First, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature and whip it until it’s really smooth. It’s difficult to incorporate the heavy cream otherwise. You heavy cream should be really cold when you add it into the whipped cream cheese. You’ll want to drizzle it in SLOWLY while beating at the same time and you should end up with a light and fluffy frosting that holds up much better than regular whipped cream and is slightly tangy from the cream cheese and lemon. Also, be careful not to over whip, or you’ll end up with a curdled mess. If you’d rather, you can also whip the heavy cream and cream cheese separately and then fold them together, but I just hate to dirty two bowls.

Angel Food CupcakesAngel Food CupcakesAngel Food CupcakesAngel Food Cupcakes

I topped these cupcakes with berries because the 4th of July is coming up and ’tis the season for fresh berries! Plus, I just can’t be trusted with food coloring right now.
Click here for a link to the folding tutorial.
Also, don’t forget to wipe down your bowl and utensils with vinegar before making your meringue. A greasy meringue is a weepy meringue!

Lemon Berry Angel Food Cupcakes

Yield: 16 cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes:
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) cake flour
  • 3/4 cup (85 grams) powdered sugar
  • 5 large egg whites or 140 grams liquid egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) superfine or caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Assorted berries for topping

Instructions

    For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Place 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. Sift together cake flour and powdered sugar into bowl and repeat the this process 2 times.
  4. Beat egg whites and salt on medium high speed until frothy.
  5. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
  6. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks form.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat to combine for an additional 10 seconds.
  8. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over egg white mixture 1/4 cup at a time and fold in after each addition.
  9. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups and bake at for 16-18 minutes or until very lightly browned.
  10. Cool the cupcakes completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  11. For the Frosting:
  12. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese (use the whisk attachment for a stand mixer) until smooth.
  13. Add the sugar and beat to combine.
  14. With the mixer running on medium speed, drizzle the heavy cream in slowly until it is completely incorporated.
  15. Continue whipping until stiff peaks have formed.
  16. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat for an additional 20 seconds.
  17. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and top with fresh berries.
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Cupcakes adapted from MyRecipes.com
Frosting adapted from Allrecipes.com

Salted Bourbon Butterscotch Cupcakes

Butterscotch Bourbon Cupcakes

Coming up with a butterscotch cupcake that tasted butterscotchy enough proved to be a challenge, but I believe I’ve finally done it! These cupcakes are a butterscotch triple threat- a butterscotch cupcake filled with butterscotch sauce, topped with a brown sugar and butterscotch swiss meringue buttercream, and topped with more butterscotch sauce. I finished off both the butterscotch sauce and the frosting with fleur de sel, because if you think salted caramel is good, salted butterscotch will rock your world.

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