I was torn between two cupcakes today, but decided on the most amazing Applejack. Also, I’ve experience a huge turnaround in my cupcake attitude. It’s so nice to see my master list filling out with finalized recipes.

Worm!

Not actually a Baked Bad, despite the gummy invertebrate

I didn’t actually find our big round piping tip, I used a tool used for a Norwegian dish. It’s like a super long piping tip, so it wasn’t too bad. I was pretty excited with this one, I had never heard of an apple cupcake before, but nothing else would work. Knowing that I couldn’t be the first, I scoured the internet until I found one that seemed pretty good, and used that as my base (I discarded about five for different reasons; I’m very picky about my ingredient ratios, scientist that I am (which makes Alton Brown a hero to me)). If you’re interested, the recipe is http://www.food.com/recipe/apple-cupcakes-41260 there. I did make some changes based on the reviews and my own tastes, but they’re fairly minor.The frosting was a lucky and perfect find in my usual cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens). I wanted a maple frosting, but I didn’t want to use buttercream. As good as buttercream is, I feel it’s a bit overused. I wanted something fluffy and light and maple. I was flipping through for the recipe for yesterday’s write up, and what did I see? A recipe for Maple Fluff frosting. I changed this a tad, too, I used more syrup than they wanted. It was worth it.

Minis

Now the fun part!

Moist apple cupcake with apple butter filling and red-striped yellow or orange maple fluff frosting… is that a worm?!

A deceptive cake moist and filling enough to make its case as a sweet muffin forms the base for the cupcake for the Pony of Honesty, Applejack. The truth is, these cupcakes could be dessert or a breakfast. The light and airy maple fluff frosting, held together with a red stripe reminiscent of Applejack’s hair tie and prized apples, adds only a touch of sweetness and maple flavoring to set off the apple-butter filled cake. A gummy worm burrows out of the frosting, hinting at Applejack’s greatest culinary moment.

The Baked Bad styling was the marvelous suggestion of a friend. I wanted a red stripe in there because I really love how her hair tie looks, since she’s all yellow and pale orange.

Recipe time!

Batter

The baked bads are coming along nicely...

Cupcake:

2 medium to large apples skin on, grated or chunkily pureed

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 ½ cups water

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to taste

3 ½ cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ cup apple or pear butter

Heat apples, sugar, water and butter in saucepan. Add spices to taste (use a light hand, the apple is the star of this cupcake). When boiling, remove from heat and allow to cool till only warm to the touch. Add flour and then baking soda. Fill lined pan cups to the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes for mini cupcakes or 18-24 minutes for big cupcakes. Allow to cool, and inject apple butter into the center of the cupcake until the top heaves.

Frosting:

3 egg whites

¾ cup maple syrup

Yellow, red, and/or orange food dye

Heat syrup in saucepan or microwave until hot. Beat egg whites until stiff, and slowly drizzle syrup into the whites. Continue beating until soft. Add color until desired shade is reached.

inside

Don't bother dying the cupcake iteslf, this is the best I could get.

Assembly:

Gel red cake dye

Food paintbrush

Gummy worms

Assemble frosting bag with largest available round tip. Put bag into a tall, wide-mouthed cup and fold over the top several inches. Dip paintbrush into red gel dye and paint a line up one side of the bag. Fill a large disposable bag (or another, larger piping bag) with frosting. Carefully pipe the frosting into the painted bag, trying not to smear the line of dye. It may need to be pushed down with a spoon. If you  need to refill the bag, rinse and dry it (doesn’t need to be perfectly dry) and repeat. Pipe in full spirals onto cupcakes. Slide a gummy worm into the frosting so that half sticks out. For small cupcakes, use only half a gummy worm.

Swirly!

Swirly!

So, I did cheat on the frosting. I still have 12 yolks from yesterday and didn’t want to add to that, so I used meringue powder. Not as good as real egg whites, of course, but very serviceable.

Despite my cupcake overdosing, I actually licked the utensils of batter AND frosting, and want another cupcake after sampling a mini and a big. They are so good, and the balance of sweet and apple, moist and maple is perfect.

Tomorrow, the last pony (but not the last cupcake), and an ingredient I am allergic enough to that I had to bring in an assistant baker.

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