Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting

The last thing I need right now is another magazine subscription. I can barely keep up with the magazines I already receive. Amazon keeps tempting me with their $5 magazine subscriptions though. It’s just so hard to pass up! Recently, a one year subscription to Eating Well was offered for $5 and I was intrigued (sadly, it looks like the deal has ended and the subscription is back to its regular price). I’d never read the magazine, though, so I picked up a few older issues from the library to check them out. I really liked what I saw – lots of good recipes and information – so I’m glad I’ve discovered this magazine!

Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting

The photo for this apple cupcake recipe caught my eye immediately when I began flipping through the October 2009 issue. I love apples in baked goods and the frosting looked so fluffy! The cupcakes incorporate shredded apples as well as dried apples – the shredded apples provide lots of moisture and replace some of the oil that would otherwise be necessary in the recipe and the dried apples just add more apple flavor. Half of the flour in the recipe is also whole-wheat, which always makes it easier to justify eating the cupcakes!

Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting

These came together easily for me and smelled terrific as they baked. The frosting takes a bit of time but there’s nothing complicated about it. I used meringue powder, which I reconstituted by adding a bit of water as directed by the instructions on the can, and it worked perfectly. I didn’t wait long to sample one and I was not disappointed. These are fantastic!! The cupcakes are lighty, fluffy and moist and the dried apples added just the right amount of apple flavor. The frosting is sweet but not too sweet – a nice contrast to the cupcakes.

Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting
from Eating Well, October 2009

Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups shredded peeled apples
1/2 cup diced dried apples
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, plus 3/4 cup, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk

Frosting
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons dried egg whites, reconstituted according to package directions (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish, if desired

To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Combine shredded and dried apples in a medium bowl with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside. Whisk together the whole-wheat flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat the oil and the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined. Add the vanilla then increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 1 minute.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, starting and ending with the dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix until just combined. Stir in the reserved apple mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffins cups – the cups will be full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To Make the Frosting: Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan. Combine 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl and set it over the saucepan. Heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes. Add the reconstituted egg whites, cream of tartar and pinch of salt to the bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is glossy and thick, 5-7 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the heat and continue beating for 1 minute to cool the frosting. Add the vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and beat on low just to combine. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and garnish with extra cinnamon, if desired. (The frosting stiffens after made so you will want to frost the cupcakes soon after making it.)

Makes 12 cupcakes