July 25, 2010, a day that will forever be engraved in my memory. The day I ruined a birthday. Ok, I know it sounds dramatic but it’s true. Every year, I try to do something special for my boyfriend… Side Note: I read so many blogs with women and men who have such cute little nicknames for their significant other, like Mr. ABC or my love, my sweetheart, my baby, etc. It brings me back to when my boyfriend and I first started dating and decided to give each other nicknames. I didn’t want to give him a typical name like pumpkin, muffin, dumpling, or sweetie. Since everyone else likes to use food as a nickname, I chose Donut. Yep, that’s right, Donut. It’s got a ring to it don’t ya think? Now that we are older I think I’m going to change it to Mr. Donut. It sounds more sophisticated.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, July 25, 2010, the day I ruined a birthday. It wasn’t just any birthday it was Mr. Donut’s birthday, and every year I try to do something over the top and really special for him. This year the budget wouldn’t allow for something lavish, like the year we went to Las Vegas, or the time I decided to get three dozen balloons with his face printed on them, for a surprise party at one of his favorite restaurants. I can still remember the look on one little boys face when I told him he couldn’t have a one, as Mr. Donut’s face was plastered all over them. Can you imagine seeing a little boy carrying around a balloon with a grown man’s face starring back at you? Kinda Creepy. Well, this year I decided to bake Mr. Donut a cake, in fact, he gave me a recipe. He said, “Babe, I want a Bananas Foster Cake.” Wow, good choice, I had never made that particular cake before, and from looking at the list of ingredients, it looked promising. I could not have imagined what would happen the day I tried to make it.
I remember waking up early, to start prepping for the cake. I had everything ready, and I was making good time. I could see the cakes rising in the oven, and once they looked finished I took them out to cool. Then I started making the filling, the aroma was to die for! I couldn’t wait to start putting it all together. First layer done. Second layer done. Then Mr. Donut nonchalantly passes through the kitchen, and says, “The cake looks a little lopsided.” What? I took a step back, and thought I can fix it, I’ll just add more filling and icing to one side and balance it out. No big deal. Little did I know, minutes later, my little leaning Tower of Pisa would look like this!
I don’t know what happened! Actually, I do know, I added too much filling and icing, and didn’t let the cake cool completely. What a disaster. The worst part about the whole thing was that I had a few last minute tricks up my sleeve and decided to throw Mr. Donut a surprise party at my Aunts house. My entire family was waiting for us, practically salivating at the thought of this homemade birthday cake. Mr. Donut had no idea, and could not understand why I was so upset. “What’s the big deal babe? We’re just going to your Aunt’s house for dinner. She’ll understand,” he said. In my head, I was freaking out!! What am I going to do? I slipped into the bathroom and called my Aunt. I told her what happened, she laughed and then said, “bring it anyway! Who cares!” Who cares? I care! My presentation is ruined! I ruined Mr. Donut’s birthday. After some reassurance, I took the cake anyway, and it was actually quite tasty. You know how people hesitate eating cakes thinking, “It looks too pretty to eat.” Not this cake. It was already “cut”, and no one had any problem diving right in. It may have looked like an earthquake but it tasted delicious. Most importantly Mr. Donut was surprised, happy, and surrounded by people who loved him. He could of cared less about the presentation.
You must be wondering, what does Mr. Donut’s birthday disaster have to do with Apple Foster Cupcakes? To that I say everything! I haven’t mustered up the courage to make that Bananas Foster Cake again, maybe one day, but until then how ‘bout some Apple Foster Cupcakes?
Apple Foster Cupcakes
Servings: Makes about 24 cupcakes
Cook + Prep. Time: About 1 hour and 30 minutes
Ingredients (Here comes the commentary!)
3 Apples, cored, peeled, and chopped.
You can use apples like Fiji, or Granny Smith for this recipe, but I used Macintosh.
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice – If you don’t have lemon juice, use lime juice
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon of Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon of Apple Spice – If you don’t have it, don’t worry about it.
1/2 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Imitation Rum -again, if you don’t have it don’t worry about it, but you can always use the real thing 🙂
1/2 Cup Apple Juice
1 Tablespoon of Corn Starch
Adapted from Bakerella
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (1 Stick of Butter)
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs at Room Temperature
1 1/2 Cup Self Rising Flour – Make sure you sift flour before using
1 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
My Mom’s Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 oz. of Cream Cheese – 2 Packets (8oz each) at room temperature
2 Stick Unsalted Butter – room temperature
2 Cup Confection Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
Peel, core and chop 3 apples. Coat apples in 1/4 cup lemon juice. Place a medium saute pan on medium heat, and add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Once the pan is heated and the butter is melted, transfer the apples (with the lemon juice) to saute. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, apple spice (if you have it), and salt. Mix, and stir frequently for 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of apple juice, imitation rum, and bring to a boil. Let cook until the apples are soft, another 5 minutes. Doesn’t the filling smell amazing? In a small dish mix the corn starch with a tablespoon of water and mix. Pour into the pan, and stir non stop for 1-2 minutes. The apple mixture should be thickening. Let cook for another 5 minutes.
Transfer the apple filling to an electric mixer or food processor. I prefer a mixer because I like my filling a little chunky. Mix for about 5 minutes on medium speed, until the consistency is that of apple sauce. WARNING the smell of apple cinnamon will waft its way throughout your house. It is highly intoxicating, in a good way of course.
Place the mixture in a bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least a 1/2 hour. (You can also prep. this overnight, and make the cupcakes the following day).
While the filling is chilling in the fridge, preheat oven to 350°F.
Place paper cupcake holders(liners) in your muffin, cupcake pan. I like to spray the liners with a little baking spray or any nonstick spray so that the batter doesn’t stick to the liners too much.
Sift 1 1/2 cup of flour in a large bowl, set aside. Then place 1 stick of butter in a mixer and cream. Add sugar, and cream together for about 5 minutes until the mixture appears light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and buttermilk (alternating, between the two, i.e, flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). Add vanilla until mixed.
Using an ice cream scooper or 1/3 cup measuring utensil, divide batter evenly throughout the pans. You should only fill the individual holders halfway. The cupcakes need room to rise. Hold cupcake pans about 3 inches above a flat countertop and drop the pans several times (three times should be good), to release any air bubbles. (A cool technique I learned from Bakerella).
Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for another 5 minutes. Then place the cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes cool, make the cream cheese frosting. Using a mixer cream together the cream cheese and butter, add the confection sugar and vanilla extract. Set aside.
Once the cupcakes are cool, using a spoon, remove the centers of the cupcakes, and add the apple filling. (You should be able to add about a tablespoon of filling to each cupcake). Add the cream cheese frosting to cover the filling. I used a decorating bag, and a #12 tip but you can cut the tip off of a plastic bag. If you are icing the cupcakes by spreading the icing with a knife, use half of the cream cheese frosting recipe. Add sprinkles or any decorations, and serve.
Also, please note: you will probably have leftover apple filling, you can store it in the fridge for about a week, and use it on biscuits, scones, pancakes, french toast or even waffles. Enjoy!