One of the mine and Sydney’s favorite fall/winter drinks is hot apple cider and I buy it by the gallons. This past Saturday I awoke to snow and the temperature had fallen 25 degrees (quite common for Colorado). I bought four gallons of apple cider, yes, I went a tad overboard. We had just finished baking Pumpkin Pillows for a friend, when I found myself staring at a can of pumpkin and 4 gallons of apple cider, I thought how can I use both ingredients, Apple-Pumpkin Cupcakes. I must admit Thanksgiving Dinner was the inspiration for these cupcake minus the spiders. We alway bake yam cups with Calvados; pumpkins and yams are in the same family.
Sydney wasn’t as enthusiastic about the combination; pumpkin is not her favorite flavor. The challenge was to have the cupcake taste like apple cider with just a hint of pumpkin. I reminded her how she loved the yam cups and she reminded me she adores yams not pumpkins. I convinced her to try my idea and if she didn’t care for the cupcakes we wouldn’t create them again.
275 grams/ 9 ½ egg whites
180 grams/ ¾-cup apple cider
375 grams/ 3 5/8-cup cake flour
20 grams/ 1½-Tablespoon baking powder
400 grams/ 2-cups sugar
132 grams/ 1/2-cup milk
61 grams/ ¼-cup can pumpkin
180 grams/ 1½ sticks or 6 ounces butter
Prepare your mise en place, spray and line 2 muffin pans. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, with the paddle attachment, sift all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just to blend. Add the butter, 61 grams/ 1/4-cup pumpkin and 132 gram/1/2 –cup milk. Continue to mix on low speed till the dry ingredients are moistened, raise the speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides and gradually add the apple cider mixture in thirds, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides.
Using a medium size ice cream scoop, fill the cupcakes. This is the easiest way to be sure all the apple-pumpkin cupcakes are the same size.
Gently tap the muffin pans against the counter to release any air bubbles.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed in the center.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 5 minutes.
Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
Once the apple-pumpkin cupcakes have cooled, cover with film or plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on your freezer). By freezing the cupcakes this process will aide you in piping and decorating. For the cute spiders use fondant to shape the hour glass shape of the black widow’s body and legs. Prepare red royal icing, with a medium consistency and pipe the belly and eyes. Places one spider on top of each cupcake. If you want add a web, color royal icing with black color paste and pipe with a #2 tip in a circular motion.
Serve and Store:
The apple-pumpkin cupcakes can be served at either room temperature or cold from the refrigerator. Store the cupcakes in a cupcake container or in a air-tight container in a single layer, do not overlap.