Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes with

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

August (Second Week): National Apple Week

It’s back to school time for students and teachers! We remember when the new academic year began after Labor Day in September, and now it’s earlier in August! Bake a back-to-school treat—apple nut and spice cupcakes–during National Apple Week, which coincides with preparations for going back to the classroom.

Apples are symbolic of education, perhaps because they were the fabled forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden.

Students stereotypically give an apple to their teachers as an appreciation gift. But (if allowed) why not give the whole class apple nut and spice cupcakes as a sweet start to a successful school year?

Recipe

(Adapted from Duncan Hines)

For the apple nut and spice cupcakes

  • 1 box spice cake mix (we used Duncan Hines brand)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can (20 ounces) apple pie filling (we used Lucky Leaf brand “lite”)
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the spice cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil. Blend until thick and moistened. Drain and chop the apples in the canned pie filling.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

Add the chopped apple pie filling and walnuts to the batter. Mix well. Scoop into muffin tins lined with red cupcake papers. Bake in a preheated oven a 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire racks before frosting and decorating. Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

For the cinnamon cream cheese frosting

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

  • 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1+ tablespoons water, milk or cinnamon schnapps
  • red food coloring
  • red sanding sugar
  • thin pretzel sticks (for the apple stem)
  • green tube frosting (for the apple leaf)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the ground cinnamon and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix until smooth. Thin with liquid, one tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired spreadable consistency.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

Tint with red food coloring and blend well. Frost the tops of the cooled apple nut and spice cupcakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set the frosting. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in red sanding sugar.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

Break pieces of the pretzel sticks and insert in the center of the cupcakes to make the apple stem. Use a small leaf tip and squeeze out green frosting from the tube to make the apple leaf. Return to the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

Notes

  • The U.S. Apple Association founded National Apple Week in 1904 but expanded the celebration into National Apple Months—September, October and November!
  • Search our blog for more apple recipes.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cakes

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

October: National Apple Month

After seeing some fall foliage at Lost Maples Natural State Park in Vanderpool, Texas, we decided to have lunch with our friends in nearby Medina—the Apple Capital of Texas. We stopped in a cute café and ate hamburgers with applewood smoked bacon. For dessert, we chose from an array of apple-flavored treats, such as pie, dumplings, bread, cobblers, cookies and even ice cream! The “Apple Store” (not to be confused with the one that sells Macintosh computers, iPads, iPods and iPhones) has souvenirs, gift items and other products from Love Creek Orchards, such as jellies, jams and sauces and butters. We also walked around the grounds to see a variety of dwarf apple trees.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Celebrate the season with a recipe that includes the quintessential fall fruit—apples. Make mini applesauce spice bundt cakes during National Apple Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Southern Food)

For the applesauce spice mini bundts

  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspooon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the applesauce with the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs. Add vanilla. Mix until smooth.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Gradually add this to the wet mixture and combine well. Fold in the raisins and walnuts.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Pour batter into a well-greased mini bundt pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven. Carefully invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool the cakes completely.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

For the caramel glaze

(Adapted from Southern Food)

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the pinch of salt. Stir in the brown sugar until cooked. Pour in the cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Keep stirring until thickened (about two minutes). Remove from heat and let cool for about an hour.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Line a lipped pan with foil. Place a wire rack with the mini bundts on top. Drizzle the caramel glaze on the cakes and let flow to the sides. Decorate the tops with fall-themed candy sprinkles (optional).

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Notes

  • We used Wilton brand jumbo leaves mix sprinkles to decorate each mini bundts for the fall season.
  • Some sources state that National Apple Months are from September until November. National Apple Week is the second week of August.
  • Learn more about apples from the U.S. Apple Association website at http://www.usapple.org/.
  • Search our blog for more apple recipes.

Apple Brown Betty

Apple Brown Betty

October 5: National Apple Betty Day

We like to eat fruit pies and cobblers for a down-home dessert on occasion. So when we have a hankering for something similar yet simple, we bake a Brown Betty with a fall fruit: apples. The dessert is nothing fancy—just fulfilling for our sweet tooth. And the ingredients are most likely in our pantry already, which makes a Brown Betty a cooking convenience.

Apple Brown Betty was a favorite of former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, when they lived in the White House (1980s). It is also sweet enough to serve in our humble house.

For an All-American autumn treat, bake an Apple Brown Betty for National Apple Betty Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Gourmet)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups coarse bread crumbs (French bread or baguette)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, divided use
  • 4 large apples (Granny Smith or Gala)
  • 1 ¼ cups water

Directions

Coarsely grate or finely chop slices of bread to make crumbs. In a saucepan, melt the butter slowly then remove from heat. Mix in the cinnamon, salt and one tablespoon of brown sugar.

Apple Brown Betty

Stir in the breadcrumbs and mix well. Sprinkle about a cup of crumb mixture over the bottom of a 1-quart baking dish or casserole.

Apple Brown Betty

Meanwhile, peel the apples. Coarsely chop two of the apples. Cut the other two apples into ¼-inch thick wedges.

Apple Brown Betty

Cook the coarsely chopped apples with the water and two tablespoons of brown sugar over medium heat in a covered saucepan. Stir occasionally. Puree the cooked apples with the liquid. Arrange the other apple wedges over the breadcrumb layer in the baking dish or casserole.

Apple Brown Betty

Pour the pureed apples over the wedges. Cover the top layer with the remaining breadcrumbs. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve hot with whipped or ice cream.

Apple Brown Betty

Notes

  • Prevent cut apples from browning by soaking them in water or sprinkling with a little lemon juice. Drain well before using in the recipe.
  • Search our blog for fruit pie and cobbler recipes.

Apple Smiles

 Apple Smiles

October 31: Halloween

An apple a day keeps the (mad) doctor away! Nibble on some nutrition and snack on “apple smiles” for Halloween. The fruit is filled with peanut butter (protein) and fat-free marshmallows, which makes it a healthier alternative to the sweet treats and candies that the kids are collecting in plastic pumpkins today. These delicious dentures are another freaky yet fun food for Halloween.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Apple slices
  • Peanut butter
  • Miniature marshmallows

Directions

Wash, dry and slice the apples to ½ inch thick. Spread a little peanut butter on one side of two apple slice. Arrange a few miniature marshmallows on top of the peanut butter. Sandwich with the other apple slice. Continue assembling the “apple smiles.” Serve as snacks immediately.

Apple Smiles