You don’t have to wait for ‘apple season’ the way you do with a lot of fruits. You can almost always get fresh apples at any store. Try that with my favorite rhubarb and you will be sorely disappointed!
And most people have apples on hand for school lunches or afternoon snacks. I eat a honeycrisp apple every single morning in the car on the way to work. When I tried a ‘low carb’ diet that did not allow my apple, I almost couldn’t handle my morning commute! (Don’t worry, that diet didn’t last long – I mean, what is life without fruits and bread!?!).
We think of Apple Pie as an All American dessert and we serve it year round. From Christmas to 4th of July, everyone loves an apple pie. We also associate apples with teachers.
Ahhhh, teachers! Those saint-like beings that teach and mold our precious children day in and day out. They don’t just teach our kids their ABC’s and to read and write and then, eventually, the dreaded Algebra! They wipe tears, lift spirits, referee arguments, inspire dreams, and spur imaginations. They have more patience than Mother Theresa, more perseverance than Winston Churchill and more love than the City of Paris on Valentines Day!
So when I had to decide on what to make for a back to school BBQ for the school that we have sent our kids to for the last 17 years, I decided that Apple Pie Cupcakes would be just the thing.
Now, my husband doesn’t really like Apple Pie (crazy, right?!) but he loves cake and cupcakes. My daughter and I, on the other hand, have been known to eat pie right from the pan as soon as it’s cool enough to dig in. So I mixed the idea of a fruit pie with a hubby-approved cupcake.
This cake is a bit dense, which is perfect to hold a good sized spoonful of filling. The apples are caramel-ey and cinnamon-y and are the perfect compliment to the cake. Top these beauties with a smooth cinnamon buttercream and, then, the perfect finishing touch! Sprinkle on a crumb topping that would normally cover a pie to add some crunchy texture.
I was told over and over that there were just to-die-for! But, make them yourself and share them with a special teacher in your life. They will thank you for it!
**TIP for you!** – I made the crumble topping, pie filling and cupcakes the day before I needed them. Right before the BBQ, I filled them, made the buttercream and iced them then sprinkled on the crumble. Making most of the components a day or two in advance will make these super easy for you!
For the Crumble topping:
- 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- To make the crumble, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the softened butter and stir & mash with a fork until combined and the mixture makes small clumps.
- Bake at 350° for 10 – 12 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes then break up any large chunks. Let cool completely until ready to use.
For the filling:
- 4 cups diced apples
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup apple juice or 1 cup water, if you don’t have juice
- Sprinkle lemon juice over apples in saucepan.
- Mix next four ingredients together and add to apples.
- Mix well.
- Add very hot juice to pan, (I microwave juice for 2 minutes) cook, stirring constantly until thickened.
- Remove from heat and cool.
For the Cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/4 cups sour cream OR plain greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake tin with paper baking cups. (I use a 24 cup tin so I can bake the entire batch at once – find my tin here.)
- Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. (Don’t take a short cut here – actually sift these together – twice if you can!)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Set the mixer on low speed and add one egg at a time, mixing between each addition until incorporated.
- Turn the mixer off and add vanilla, almond extract and sour cream OR greek yogurt. Mix on low until incorporated then turn up to med-high for 1 minute.
- Add half of the sifted flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir by hand until the dry flour is incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture.
- Scoop about 1/4 cup batter with an ice cream scoop into prepared muffin tin. I like to use a scoop with a thumb release lever. Each cupcake liner should be about 3/4 full.
- Bake at 350° for 16 to 18 minutes or until cupcake springs back when lightly touched. Allow to cool in the pan for 3 to 4 minutes than remove to a cooling rack.
For the Cinnamon Buttercream:
- 1 ½ cups butter (3 sticks), at room temperature
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon (or more to taste)
- Pinch of salt
- Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy and lighter in color.
- Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and pulse the mixer a few times. (This keeps the sugar from flying out all over your kitchen! Alternately, you can wrap a towel around the top of the mixer, letting it hang over the bowl.). Mix until combined.
- Add heavy cream and mix until smooth
- Add more sugar, one cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Add cinnamon and salt and whip until fluffy, about 2 minutes.