The apple kick continues :)
The first time I made these was in October, and I tried the caramel version as listed on the original website. The caramel turned out HORRIBLY. Same thing happened the second time I made them, last Tuesday. So I gave up, and used some leftover Vanilla Buttercream. My parents and I agreed the buttercream suited the cupcakes well, but I knew deep down that the Swiss Meringue would be best...
So on Saturday, I made the cupcakes again, and didn't bother with the caramel. Instead, I made Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect :)
PLEASE do yourselves a favor, and make these babies. They're incredible. Truly, truly amazing. The cupcakes, apple pie filling, and buttercream are all courtesy of Craving Chronicles. I altered a couple of ingredients in the filling and buttercream.
Yield: ~2 dozen cupcakes
Milk- 1 c
Butter- 1/2 c (1 stick), room temp
All purpose flour- 2 c
Baking powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Ground cinnamon- 2 tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Large eggs- 4
Sugar- 1 3/4 c
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and butter until butter melts. Remove from heat.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
3. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes, or until thick ribbons form. Add flour mixture and beat on low until just incorporated. Add milk mixture and vanilla, and beat until blended.
4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes. I set my timer for 16 minutes, then rotated the pans and let them bake for two more.
Apple Pie Filling
Butter- 2 tbsp
Honey Crisp Apples- 4 medium (about 1.5 lbs), peeled, cored, finely diced
Sugar- 1 tbsp
Dark brown sugar- 2 tbsp
Lemon juice- 1 tsp
Cinnamon- 1/4 tsp
Cornstarch- 1/2 tbsp
Water- 1 tbsp
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, sugars, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Cook until apples are tender and release their juices- you can tell when they're cut in half easily, and are soft and smell yummmy. This will take about 10 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water; make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add to apples and stir, cook until thickened. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature.
3. Final step: Try not to eat all of the filling before you use it in the cupcakes.
Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Large egg whites- 6
Sugar (regular, not powdered)- 1 1/2 c
Coarse salt- just a pinch
Butter- 3 sticks, cut into cubes and room temp
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Ground cinnamon- 1 tsp
1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and coarse salt in the bowl of a standing mixer (or a double boiler). Place over a saucepan of simmering water over medium heat.
2. Whisk egg white mixture constantly until it gets thick and the sugar has dissolved. The temp on a candy thermometer will read 160 degrees OR if you don't have one, pinch some of the mixture between your fingers- if it's smooth, you're good to go.
3. Remove bowl from heat and attach to stand mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form and the outside of the bowl has cooled (it will be white-hot when you first take it off the heat). This will take about 10 minutes.
4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and add one cube of butter at a time; don't add the next until the previous has been fully incorporated. Kaitlin of Whisk Kid recommends waiting 15 seconds. This is very key: do not panic if the mix gets soupy or curdles! Just keep beating, and I promise it will all be fine.
5. Once the butter has been added, beat until smooth. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated. Mix in the cinnamon by hand.
Use a Cupcake Corer or cut out a cone in the center of the cupcake, and fill with apple pie filling. Then pipe the delicious Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream onto the cupcakes, and inhale them :)