A slice of warm apple pie is hard to resist, so it’s no surprise that they are one of my top comfort foods. Apple pies do have a few drawbacks, however. They need to be served with a plate and fork, and they’re not always easy to slice up for a big crowd. Since I do a lot of entertaining in the fall, I tend to gravitate towards recipes with a little more flexibility than a traditional pie. These Apple Pie Cupcakes are a wonderful way to get all the flavor of apple pie in a format that travels more easily and can be eaten aright out of the palm of your hand!
The cupcakes are vanilla cupcakes, made with a recipe that produces fluffy, tender cupcakes every time. After baking, I hollowed out the cupcakes and filled them with apple pie filling. I didn’t use just any apple pie filling, of course. I diced up fresh apples and cooked them down with brown sugar and spices. Dicing the apples brings them down to a size that allows them to fit neatly inside the cupcake, but it also ensures that they cook quickly. The filling takes about 5 minutes to make, though it will need to cool before you spoon it into the cored out cupcakes. I recommend making the filling while the cupcakes are in the oven, that way everything will be on the same time schedule.
If you’re an apple pie lover, you’ll fall in love with these at first bit. The light cupcakes really set off the apple filling and make these cupcakes feel like pie, not just another apple cupcake. Adding more filling to the top of the cupcakes is optional, but gives the cupcakes a nice look and lets guests know what they’ll find inside. I topped these with a vanilla frosting, so go ahead and use your favorite recipe.
Apple Pie Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (pref. whole milk)
1 batch vanilla frosting
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract until well-combined. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining half of the flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
Take the cupcakes out of the pan and place them on a wire rack. Allow cupcakes to cool completely, then use a paring knife to cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake. Cut the point off of each cone, preserving the top.
Fill each cupcake with approx 2 tsp apple pie filling, then replace the top. Frost cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Make a well in the top of the frosting, then add 1 tsp apple pie filling to the well.
2 large/ 3 medium apples
1 tbsp butter
4 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
Dice up the apples (skin can be left on) into small cubes, less than 1/4-inch x 1/4-inch.
In a large saucepan or skillet, melt the butter, add apple dice and saute until slightly softened. Add brown sugar and spices and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and a bubbling sauce forms. Cook until apples are tender.
In a very small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water. Add to apple mixture and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (depending on the size of the apples).