These cupcakes were a first for me – several firsts, in fact. These cupcakes were my first foray into the previously uncharted territory of mini cupcakes. And they marked my first step into the professional food world – I made them for a catering gig that I helped out with.
The lovely Rebecca Takemoto and Kelly Thornton, of Syncopate Meetings and Events, catered the event, a “pink” themed birthday party. I have to put in a little plug for Syncopate here. Rebecca founded and co-owns Syncopate, and not only is her food fabulous, but she is unfailingly kind and professional in the face of any craziness an event throws her way. Kelly makes a mean stuffed mushroom (probably the most popular item we put out all night) and did a wonderful job coordinating all the details of that evening. So book them for your next party or event! And then I can make the cupcakes!
As for the cupcakes – while they weren’t bad, I don’t know if they qualify as cupcakes. I used the recipe for Applesauce-Spice Cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, but the texture was much more akin to a muffin. The cake was spongy, with a coarse crumb and springy texture that I associate with muffins. A little sleuthing on the Martha Stewart web site found that almost the exact same recipe appears under the title “Applesauce Muffins.” Well well.
The other issue with these cupcakes is that you absolutely have to use paper liners, or they won’t come out of the tins. I wasn’t able to find mini muffin pan liners, and my first batch refused to budge. I ended up recruiting friends to cut dozens and dozens of tiny circles out of wax paper to line the bottoms of the mini muffin tins. Beware if I ever invite you over for dinner – you may be recruited into cupcake labor.
Even with these little hiccups, this was still a really great time. I never realized that catering involved so much running around and dishwashing, and yet it was very fun and satisfying work. Many thanks to Rebecca, for suggesting I tag along.
Apple Spice Mini Cupcakes
Adapted From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
Makes approximately 50 mini cupcakes, or 18 regular sized cupcakes (note: the number of mini cupcakes this recipe will make depends on your mini muffin tin. Using my tin, one regular cupcake recipe made around three times the number of mini cupcakes – around 50. But according to the Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book, one cupcake recipe can make anywhere between 32 and 46 mini cupcakes).
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple sauce
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line muffin tins (mini or otherwise) with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On a low speed, add applesauce and then the flour mixture, beating until just combined.
Fill each cup 3/4 full with batter. Bake 10-15 minutes for mini cupcakes, or 20 minutes for regular cupcakes. Frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe follows).
Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 4 cups
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted (add another cup for a stiffer frosting)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy – 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla, beating until smooth and combined.