As you know, I have a tendency of being slightly over–eager when I go apple picking every fall. Every year, while I am so satisfyingly picking the apples off the trees, I dream about everything I can make, how different kinds of apples will lend to distinct textures and flavors, and how I, quite frankly, will not be able to leave until I am holding two giant bags over flowing with apples.
Then, without fail, every year, I get home and notice how the apples seem to have multiplied in my tiny kitchen than on the orchards in wide open spaces. And I panic. And then I have toast with peanut butter, honey and sliced apple to calm down and help make a dent in my collection. It’s a ritual.
This year, though, I was prepared. As soon as I got back home from my apple picking outing, before I could let the number of apples overwhelm me, I started peeling and coring and dicing and made apple sauce out of eight pounds of apples. It was tart and sweet and just so delicious. I don’t have to tell you what happened next, do I? Yes, it’s true. I panicked when I saw the amount of apple sauce I had.
But this cake solved everything! It uses apple sauce! And then it uses even more apples! They’re roasted to intensify their apple-y flavor. And then paired with warm spices to make this cake perfect for the season – homey and rustic and so filled with apple love. Overzealous apple picking is rewarded!
Roasted Apple Cupcakes (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
3 medium apples, any variety you like to bake with, peeled, halved and cored
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cups honey
2 1/4 applesauce
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1.5 8 oz. blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1.5 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
Roast apples: Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange apple halves face down on paper and roast in a single layer until they feel dry to the touch and look a little browned underneath, about 20 minutes. Slide parchment paper with apples onto a cooling rack and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Make cupcakes: Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk together applesauce and honey.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until very fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between every other addition. Add one third of the flour-spice mixture and mix it until just combined. Add half the applesauce-honey mixture, again mixing it until combined.
Chop roasted apples into smallish 1/2 inch chunks and fold into batter. Divide batter into muffin tins and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Transfer baking pans to cooling racks and let rest for 10 minutes, before taking the cupcakes out to cool completely on wire rack. Frost when cooled.
Make the frosting: Beat together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and cinnamon. Add sugars and beat again until smooth and light. The brown sugar will be a little grainy, but it will add a delightful crunch on your cupcake.