Rustic Apple Cupcakes

I can't stop cooking with apples. They're so crispy and delicious this time of year. Today I was craving some kind of apple cake and came up with this recipe. It's similar to a few I found floating around out there, but most of those recipes have lots of vegetable oil as the bringer of good things fat and moist. I get it that oil makes cakes moist kind of grosses me out and I think it's a missed opportunity to add flavor. So I used a combination of butter, applesauce and oil. I also added some brown sugar because I think it delivers a toastier kind of sweetness. Chopped apples and walnuts give these nice rustic texture and great fall flavor.

The batter is so good that I might have left more behind in the bowl than I really needed to in order to clean it up with my finger. Naturally, I made cream cheese frosting to go on top. I couldn't help myself. But these cupcakes really don't need it. You could simply pretty them up with a dusting of powdered a tiny coffee cake, which they resemble in flavor. Enjoy!

This version (with powdered sugar )
 is my breakfast choice with a cup of coffee.

Rustic Apple Cupcakes

Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

1/2 cup unsweetened/natural applesauce
1/3 cup butter (5 1/2 tablespoons), softened
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups diced Granny Smith apples (approx. 2)
1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350º

Peel and dice apples into 1/4- 1/2 inch chunks. Toast walnuts in oven (350º for 10 minutes), cool and chop.

Cream butter and sugar (it won't be completely smooth). Add oil, applesauce, vanilla and eggs and beat until incorporated. Put flour, baking soda, salt and spices into a separate bowl.  Sift into batter and mix just until incorporated. Fold in apples and walnuts.

Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners and fill 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or when toothpick comes out clean.

This is my afternoon choice, with a cup of tea.

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 1/c cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth, then add powdered sugar and extract and beat until combined.

Note: You could also add a teaspoon of cinnamon when you put in the powdered sugar - it would be delicious in combination with the apple flavor.


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