Apple Cider Doughnut Cupcakes
I’m pretty sure that just yesterday I was in third grade. In fact, I was, sitting at my daughters desk listening to the teacher talk about the year and thinking when on earth did I become a responsible adult…let alone a parent of a third-grader! And how on earth am I going to get my knees out from under this desk-I’m pretty sure I’m stuck here! I still remember my teacher, my classmates, the special projects and parties we had, the paper cranes we made, writing in cursive the first time…you get the idea. Somehow I blinked a little too fast and 20 years went flying by.
Thankfully some of my favorite memories are still a reality today. I watch my daughter come home way too excited about writing 3 letters in cursive and listen as she tries to come up with words to write with those 3 letters. Back to school shopping is even more fun when it’s for someone else and hot apple cider and cider doughnuts taste even better when sharing them with your kids. So I’m trying not to blink at all now and enjoy these fleeting moments.
I’ve been really wanting to make apple cider doughnuts but the recipe I would use has been blogged before so it seemed a little redundant. So I wasted 2-3 hours
whining pondering what else I could do with apple cider. Nothing. At least nothing that interested me enough to do anything. I looked at my list of ingredients again and then it hit me. Duh! Make cupcakes!
So these aren’t exactly like eating an apple cider doughnut…but its very reminiscent and they do bring you to that happy cinnamon-ey sugar place. The cupcake batter is based off a doughnut recipe just altering the flour and butter. They come out super light, fluffy and moist-my husband and I almost ate them all hot out of the oven! I wanted to add some crunch (any good apple cider doughnut has a crispy outside!) but I wasn’t about to deep fry the cupcakes. Instead I added a burnt sugar coating (creme brulee anyone?) that adds a delicious toasted flavor and a definite crisp. A buttercream would be too heavy for such a delicate cupcake so I topped it all off with fresh whipped cream and the traditional cinnamon sugar that coats cider doughnuts. They are heavenly. Dangerously so. Not too sweet and light enough where you can eat three in a row without batting an eye. Go ahead, I won’t tell 🙂
Apple Cider Doughnut (inspired) Cupcakes
Yields 12-15 cupcakes
1 cup apple cider
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
whipped cream (fresh or store bought)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
Pour the apple cider in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then adjust heat to maintain a steady simmer. Continue to cook until reduced to 1/4 cup of liquid. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. In a medium mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
3. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter on medium speed of an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition. Add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat in the reduced apple cider.
4. Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full (don’t overfill because they will spread out over the pan during the cooking). Bake in preheated oven for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back at a light touch. Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
5. When the cupcakes have cooled prepare the burnt sugar topping by placing 1/2 cup of the sugar in a (very clean, very dry) medium, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has turned to liquid and is the color of honey. Remove from the heat. Carefully spoon a little of the liquid sugar over each cupcakes, smoothing it as much as possible with the back of the spoon to cover the top of the cupcake. You have to work quickly because the sugar will immediately start to harden.
6. To finish, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Generously dollop the cupcakes with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.