Apple Cinnamon Cream Cupcakes: NOT Back-to-School Cupcakes!

It’s Cupcake Week on Willow Bird Baking! Cupcake Capers was a 5-day summer camp I conducted last week wherein 5 middle school girls learned to bake, fill, and frost cupcakes. We eschewed pedestrian cupcake flavors in favor of creative combinations that I now get to share with you! Every day this week I’ve been posting fun memories and recipes from Cupcake Camp.


No really, they’re not Back-to-School Cupcakes.

Like all good things, Cupcake Camp had to eventually come to an end. Day 5 arrived and so did the campers, eager to pack in one last day of cake pops and cupcakes. At the end of the day they would finally carry home their aprons, recipe notebooks, and colorful bakery boxes filled with the cupcakes we’d made all week (the ones they hadn’t already devoured, that is) to share with their families.

But first, we sat down to complete the cutest decorating job of the week: turning cupcakes into apples! We baked these apple cupcakes in bright red liners to begin creating the effect. Once they were cooled and frosted, we dipped the tops in red sanding sugar, used bits of pretzel for their “stems,” and cut “leaves” from green fruit roll-ups.

These cupcakes weren’t just adorable, though — they were also one of the girls’ favorite recipes all week long. The spice cake, creamy cinnamon mousse, and brown sugar buttercream frosting melded into a delicious preview of fall flavors. Bright smiles broke out all around as the campers first tasted one of their “apples.” Even though they had already ranked their favorite cupcakes, several of them went back and added Apple Cinnamon Cream Cupcakes right at the top of their lists!

After tasting, we sat back and admired our handiwork. Meticulous Mary Rood made the comment that these looked like Back-to-School cupcakes. She’s right, of course. Isn’t it funny how just as soon as August peeks around the corner, stores everywhere roll out the red plaid, apples, mini chalkboards, and school supplies in an array of primary colors? These cupcakes fit right in.

Her comment sunk in for a moment before our summer spirit rebelled. We still have a few weeks of freedom! The temperature still climbs to 100 degrees each day! We still have beach trips, pool trips, and sprints through the sprinkler planned!

I don’t care what the stores might have you believe, it’s still SUMMER! We’ll go back to school when our parents drag us, kicking and screaming, and not one second before!

(Okay, I guess I can’t quite wait until my parents drag me . . . )

So these may look like Back-to-School cupcakes. They may taste like Back-to-School cupcakes. I may have gotten carried away and photographed them surrounded by a bunch of the brightly colored school supplies I just made fun of.

But these are NOT Back-to-School cupcakes. These are IT’S-STILL-SUMMER-AND-I-DON’T-CARE-WHAT-YOU-SAY-LA-LA-LA cupcakes.

Now that we’re clear on that, you should go make them and eat about twenty.

What summer plans do you still have to accomplish before summer ends? Or, for readers on the tail end of winter, what exciting things do you have lined up for the spring?

Apple Cinnamon Cream Cupcakes


Recipe by: adapted from Baked Bree
Yields:about 24-28 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped (optional)

Cinnamon Mousse Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 (4 serving) package vanilla Instant Pudding Mix (not Cook & Serve)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
1 stick room temperature butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups of powdered sugar (depends on consistency desired)
3 tablespoons of heavy cream (depends on consistency desired)

Directions:
*Note: This recipe makes twice as much mousse as you need for filling the cupcakes. If you want to use half the pudding pack and save the rest for later, just measure it out and do so. Or use the extra mousse for another project (you know, like eating it with a spoon).

Make cupcakes: Line two muffin tins with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate, large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy (several minutes). Add the eggs in one at a time, beating after each addition, and then mix in the applesauce. Finally, mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full of batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool completely.

Make mousse: To make the cinnamon mousse, combine milk, cream, and pudding mix, and spices in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer until you reach soft peaks, or a thick whipped cream consistency (this takes a few minutes). Refrigerate mousse until you’re ready to use it.

Make frosting: To make the frosting, beat butter and shortening together until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix. Gradually add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and alternately add the cream. Adjust these items until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble cupcakes: To fill the cupcakes, use the Cone Method: cut an upside-down cone out of the top of each one. Cut off the tip of the cone (and eat it, if you wish) leaving just the “lid.” Fill the cavity with mousse using a piping bag or zip-top bag with the corner cut off, and then replace the “lid” to give you a relatively smooth surface to frost. Don’t overfill these, or they’ll be hard to frost.

Use the back of a spoon, a knife, or an offset spatula to cover the cupcakes with a layer of frosting. To ensure you don’t accidentally shift your “lid,” use a pretty thick layer of frosting and just gently pull it out toward the sides of the cupcake to achieve full coverage — that way you’re never pulling your spoon/spatula straight up and pulling the lid off. Dip frosted cupcakes into a bowl of red sanding sugar or sprinkles. Add a piece of a pretzel stick for a stem. Add a leaf cut from a green fruit roll up (I made a little indentation in my frosting with the tip of a knife to stick the tip of the leaf into). Enjoy!

All Cupcake Week Recipes:
Day One: Chocolate Pistachio Cream Cupcakes
Day Two: Banana Split Cupcakes and Cake Pops
Day Three: Creamsicle Cupcakes
Day Four: Strawberry & Cream Cupcakes and Cake Pops
Day Five: Apple Cinnamon Cream Cupcakes

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16 Comments on Apple Cinnamon Cream Cupcakes: NOT Back-to-School Cupcakes!

  1. a snowsprite
    August 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm (4 years ago)

    Hahahaha! green, yellow, orange, pink, and red. Oh you are all rainbowy over here! Yum yum I think I might really have to make these sometime. I’ll bet those girls had fun at cupcake camp. I think apples are adorable!
    Also? I really like your filling method. I’m not sure any other would make sense to me really. Thanks again for sharing!

    Reply
    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      August 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks! I love the Cone Method — I’ve used others, too, but this one is my fave. Sometimes you don’t need the “lid” put back on and you can just squeeze in more cream and frost over it, but on some cupcakes (like these) you really need it!

      Reply
  2. Maris (In Good Taste)
    August 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm (4 years ago)

    These get better every day1 You are doing some amazing stuff here!

    Reply
  3. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen
    August 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm (4 years ago)

    I think these are my favorite you’ve posted all week! My sister/co-blogger is a teacher and has a new job for the fall. I should make these for her to celebrate :)

    Reply
  4. anita menon
    August 6, 2011 at 3:43 am (4 years ago)

    Beautiful cupcakes..

    Reply
  5. Kaitlin
    August 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm (4 years ago)

    So cute! I wish I could have gone to cupcake camp! lol

    I am going camping as soon as I move back home, I’m going to spend a few days at my friend’s cottage after that and – finally – I’m going to try to reupholster the couch I got for free last year. I’m so pumped!

    Reply
    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      August 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you, Kaitlin! We would’ve loved to have you :)

      Those sound like AWESOME summer plans. For some reason reupholstering the couch sounds SO fun to me right now. haha — maybe I should be looking for some thrift furniture…

      Reply
  6. prettylittlepinkthings
    August 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm (4 years ago)

    those look so cute and delicious! I can’t wait to try them out! :)
    ~Lesley

    Reply
  7. Jenn (JJ's Custom Cakery)
    August 10, 2011 at 12:30 am (4 years ago)

    I love these…they’re super cute, and as a teacher, I would LOVE to get one to start off the school year. Also, since cinnamon ice cream is one of my favourite flavours, I’m bound to love cinnamon mousse!

    Reply
  8. Maranda
    August 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh. My. GAWD!!!!! I need these NOW!

    Reply
  9. Vera Zecevic – Cupcakes Garden
    December 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm (2 years ago)

    What a cute cupcakes.I like these apple looking idea.I’ve featured this recipes on my blog! I hope you don’t mind! If you don’t agree with that please contact me and I will remove it. All the best.

    Reply

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