Thursday, December 20, 2012

Boozy Apple Cider Cupcakes

Sometimes life comes at you fast!  Like in a no holds barred kind of way, its not backing down, there is no pause button, and definitely not a rewind button(as much as we might want one sometimes).  You read something in the paper, on Facebook, catch it on the news,  wherever and it can completely turn your day upside down...and sometimes its only 8:00 am.  Then you do one small act, like giving a homeless man one of these cupcakes after dropping off the last Christmas/birthday presents at the post office and it goes in a whole other direction.   As Steve Jobs once said, "Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.  Don't lose faith."

Yes, those are whisks with cookies in the middle.

Therefore I am going to start a pre-new years resolution that was brought on by a Christmas gift from James, that said "Without whisks, there are no rewards."  In the coming month and year, I want to truly take some advice from Steve Jobs in a quote that I have had highlighted on the back of my work notebook..."Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."  

It is hard to believe another year is almost over, that 2013 resolutions will soon be a topic of discussion.  That as of this December I have been out of school for 5 years!  Shouldn't I feel like an adult now?  Do we ever really start to feel like adults?  That I have been spilling my guts and adventures on this blog through baking for two years and 160 recipes, and loving every minute of it!  I just can't wait to see what food adventures the coming year brings.

For now though, lets talk about these cupcakes.  These are a flavor explosion of cinnamon apple  deliciousness.   The vanilla cake hints of apple and cinnamon, with the cinnamon apples hidden like treasure in the bottom of the cupcakes.  Then the apple cider poured over top adds for great moisture and flavor.  The shining star on this cupcake though is the cinnamon bourbon cream cheese frosting that is smooth, rich and creamy.  The bourbon isn't BAM in your face, but more subtle; leaving you wondering what this rich warm flavor is.  These are great cupcakes for this time of year.  I made them along with the Hot Chocolate cupcakes for National Cupcake Day.  So, give them a try and enjoy!

It was a really good thing I was taking these to a party because I had a lot of cupcakes!

Sugar and butter, meet eggs and vanilla.

Cinnamon apples become a surprise at the bottom of these cupcakes.

Ready for the batter on top.

Fill cupcake liners using a 1/4 cup measuring cup and then into the oven.

A little cider on top when the cupcakes are still warm.

A bird's-eye view.

Boozy Apple Cider Cupcakes
1 small red apple, pealed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar 
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup apple cider

Cinnamon Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 - 8oz block 1/3 fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 - 4 tablespoons bourbon (I used Wild Turkey)

1.  Peal and chop the apple.  Then toss with cinnamon and set aside.

2  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with a total of 24 cupcake liners.  Spray the bottom of each liner with non-stick cooking spray.

3.  In a small bowl, combine the flours and set aside.

4.  In a large bowl, using either an electric mixer or the back of a fork, cream the butter until smooth. Then add the sugar and vanilla gradually in and beat until fluffy and creamy. 

5. Next, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. 

6.  Spoon about a teaspoon of cinnamon apples into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Then carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.  (I use my 1/4 cup measuring cup and it comes out to be about perfect.)  

7.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for a few minutes and then remove and let finish cooling on cooling rack.  Once on cooling rack, using a teaspoon, carefully spoon 1 teaspoon of apple cider on top of each warm cupcake.  While cupcakes finish cooling prepare the frosting.

8.  In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Then beat in one cup of sifted powdered sugar with the cinnamon.  Then beat in 3 tablespoons of bourbon until fully incorporated.  Next beat in two more cups of powdered sugar.  Continue adding in powdered sugar one cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Frost cooled cupcakes and Enjoy!

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