Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Walnuts

Headed to our last away hockey tournament of the season this weekend, with my son Jared.  Very happy that hockey is almost over and we can have a little break from busy.  Decided to bake some of these little treats to bring along for the kids this weekend..I saw these on another blog..I believe this recipe was originally for a cake – so if you like you could bake in a cake pan – just add some time onto your cook time, or you could make mini muffins too if you like..just decrease your cooking time – you get the picture.  I just made regular standard sized cupcakes.

As for the icing…next time I will add a bit more cinnamon, I didn’t find that you could really taste the cinnamon much.  Also, as you can see in my picture, I have not yet mastered the art of piping, still working on it.

The candied walnuts are delish…I almost decided to skip this step, and then went for it, and I’m glad I did, they were really yummy, they would be even great tossed in a salad with some blue cheese and apples.  I toasted mine first in a dry pan. I love watching sugar transform into caramel, it really is amazing..to watch a simple ingredient become something so delish.

For the Cupcakes – Adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • Preheat the oven 350 °F with rack in the middle
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices
  • Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined
  • Spread batter evenly in the cupcake pan (with liners or spray with pam if you don’t have or use liners) and bake until a toothpick comes out clean about 18 to 22 minutes. Cool in a cooling rack for 10 minutes

For the Frosting…Also adapted from Gourmet
Ingredients
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  • Very important to have all the ingredients at room temperature
  • Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.
  • Using desired tip and piping bag, pipe the frosting on the cupcakes

Caramelized Walnuts Recipe
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cups raw walnut halves
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
Instructions
  • The walnuts must be toasted first
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Use middle rack in oven. Lay walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5 minutes or until toasted – this is what the directions say, but I find it much quicker to lightly toast them in a dry pan on the burner (just watch them, they burn quickly)
  • Pour sugar into a saucepan. Cook sugar on medium heat stirring with a wooden spoon,  as soon as the sugar begins to melt add butter and walnuts.  Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is a medium amber. Stir and coat each piece with the sugar mixture.
  • When all the walnuts are coated with the sugar mixture, spread them out on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Use two teaspoons to separate the walnuts from each other, work  quickly since the caramel will harden fast. Let them cool completely.
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