I've been wanting to make these cupcakes forever. I saw them on Annie's Eats a year ago, and I was infatuated with them. They look so darn cute and the flavor of apple pie in a cupcake sounded like it would be amazing. I've baked a lot of desserts since then, and I decided that I love the concept, but (and I'm sure the original was absolutely delicious) I wanted to make it even more like a real apple pie. I used the same vanilla cake base, except I used browned butter in place of regular butter, replaced some of the sugar with brown sugar, and added a hint of cinnamon. I also used a tweaked version of pie crumb frosting from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook in place of a vanilla buttercream. Altogether this is one of the best cupcakes I've ever had! There's no explaining how delicious the pie crumb frosting is with the apple pie filling and browned butter cupcake base. I really hope you try out this cupcake, you're not going to be disappointed!!
This cupcake recipe requires that you brown butter. I learned from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook that you can actually brown butter in the microwave. The first time I tried it out I ended up with melted butter all over the microwave. I was determined to make it work so I found a tighter fitting plate to put on top, and my butter not only stayed in the cup but came out perfectly browned.
To brown butter in the microwave: put your butter into a large pyrex bowl or measuring cup covered tightly with a plate, and microwave it for 3-5 minutes or until the butter turns a deep brown color. If the butter foams up too much you can stop the microwave, stir, and put it back in. Be careful as the plate and bowl/measuring cup get extremely hot! Cool it to a solid room temp state for this recipe.
Apple Pie Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
For the browned butter cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp browned butter
3 tbsp salted butter, at room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
For the apple pie filling:
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
2-4 tbsp apple juice or cider
For the pie crumb frosting:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) salted butter, melted
1 1/2 tbsp water
6 tbsp salted butter, at room temp
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
To make the cupcakes: preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the brown butter, butter, sugar, and brown sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until completely incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Turn the mixer to low and beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, in three separate additions, starting and finishing with the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated.
Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the apple pie filling: combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and diced apples in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until the butter and sugar are melted. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the apple juice or cider if the mixture looks too dry.
To make the pie crumb frosting: preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the flour and sugar. Beat to combine. With the mixer on low slowly stream in the melted butter and water. Stop the mixer when the mixture begins to form small clumps of dough, it should be slightly sandy. Dump the mixture out onto the baking sheet and spread the clumps in an even layer. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring the mixture to break up any clumps occasionally. Cool completely before proceeding.
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the room temperature butter and powdered sugar until pale and fluffy.
In a blender combine the cooled pie crumbs and milk. Blend to a paste. Add this to the stand mixer and beat to combine, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.
To assemble: use a knife to cut a cone shaped piece out of the top of each cupcake. Fill the holes with the apple pie filling. Make sure the filling is cool so it won't melt the frosting. Top with pie crumb frosting.
Cupcake recipe heavily adapted from Annie's Eats who got it from Fatty Fat Fats. Pie crumb frosting recipe adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.