Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Spiked Apple Cider Cupcakes

It’s that time of year when everyone starts pulling out special holiday flavors for their drinks – pumpkin and gingerbread lattes and hot apple cider are practically ubiquitous these days.

One of my favorite holiday drinks is spiced and spiked apple cider. (I love Red Jacket Orchards cider, but I obviously can’t get it down here, so Reid’s Orchards is my very able local substitute.) Good apple cider is wonderful on its own, but one cinnamon stick, a few cloves, a dash of nutmeg, a splash of rum, and a quick trip through the microwave later, it turns into a delicious drink for a cold night. And here it is all dressed up as a cupcake.

Spiked Apple Cider Cupcakes
(Apple Cider Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Buttercream Frosting)

(makes 10 regular cupcakes)
For the cupcakes:
7 tablespoons butter, room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups flour
1 cup apple cider
For the frosting:
2 egg whites
Dash of salt
3 ½ tablespoons water
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons dark rum
Make the cupcakes:
Heat an oven to 350° F.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the egg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix well to combine, about 1 minute.
Add the flour in 3 batches and the cider in 2 batches, alternating between the two and starting and ending with the flour.
Pour the batter into lined muffin pans; fill the cups about ¾ full. Bake for 20-22 minutes; a toothpick should come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting:
Put the egg whites and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
In a small saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. When the mixture reaches a boil, turn on the mixer and beat the whites and salt at medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Continue boiling the sugar mixture until it reaches the soft ball stage (about 240° F – if you drop a bit of the mixture into a glass of cold water, it will form a soft ball, hence the name). Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat.
With the mixer still running, pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl (do not pour the syrup into the whisk and try not to get it on the side of the bowl – the sugar will harden on contact and will result in some small hard pieces in the frosting). Let the mixer run until the mixture is cool, about 10 minutes.
Once the mixture is cool, add the butter, ½ tablespoon at a time. The frosting might appear curdled after you have added about ¾ of the butter, but it will get smooth once all the butter is added and you continue beating. After all the butter has been added, add the spices and rum. Beat for 1 more minute to incorporate.


Rick said...

Will you be in NY for Christmas? If so, can you bring some please? :)

Meghan said...

These sound dreamy!

Cookie Monster said...

I don't reacll being given these cupcakes. I command you to make them for me.

Meg said...

my boyfriend bought me a huge jug of apple cider so I decided to make these. The cupcakes turned out terrific but the frosting was terrible. I made two batches. Each batch ended up looking curdled when at least half of the butter was added and never recovered. The frosting was frothy and smooth before and then suddenly had butter clumps. no matter what i did it didn't recover. Is there a mistake in the recipe you posted? does it require more than one stick of butter?

Linda Zhang said...

I only made the cupcakes, skipping over the frosting in favor of a potentially less troublesome recipe. I'm sad to report that the cupcakes were too moist and soggy. I thought I had under baked them so I popped them back for a total of 25 minutes but they still tasted soggy. The cider flavor was overwhelmed by the brown sugar. They're edible, but I wouldn't make them again and I definitely wouldn't serve them to my friends (which was my original intention). :-/

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