To Make the Cupcakes
Makes 2 Dozen
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups coarsely shredded apples, such as Macintosh (about 1 3/4 pounds)
I highly recommend shredding the apples first, then cleaning up before you do anything else. I shredded them while the butter and sugar were mixing and my kitchen looked like an orchard threw up on it. Even though I shredded the apples in my Cuisinart, the sticky juice and stray apple shreds got everywhere. While it won’t affect the cupcakes, its better for your sanity.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; mix in apples.
Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until just combined.
Divide batter among lined cups, filling halfway; bake until tops are springy to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Actually, I filled mine more than halfway, but they still came out normal height. Maybe my muffin pans are smaller than Martha’s. I’m not really sure.
Remove cupcakes from tins; transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
To Make the Buttercream
Makes about 4 cups
4 large egg whites
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.
Transfer to the clean bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and cooled, about 15 minutes. Raise speed to high; beat until stiff peaks form.
Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, until fully incorporated.
This is where I started having problems. I’ve never made buttercream before, so I didn’t realize how tempermental it could be. I learned after the fact that you can overwhip it, causing it to overheat and separate. Apparently if this happens, you can chill it and try rewhipping it. I didn’t do this, because it tasted fine. It just was slightly lumpy and not as smooth and pretty as Martha’s.
If you see lumps, it is not butter that hasn’t been fully incorporated. So stop whipping.
In any event, it still tasted fine, so I frosted the cupcakes. And to try to disguise the lumpy frosting, I sprinkled some pretty fall colored sugar on them. I definitely recommend storing these in the fridge because the frosting won’t really hold up otherwise. You can let them come to room temperature before eating them though.