October marks that time of year again… I’m talking about apples, cinnamon spice, and everything pumpkin. It’s one of my favorite times of year!
With apple orchard season in full swing, I’m always looking for ways to use those one or two leftover apples. A few weeks ago, my grandpa celebrated his 90th birthday. I made a huge three layer vanilla cake for his special day, and we had everyone over to help celebrate. The following weekend, one of my brother’s came to visit and we figured a 90th birthday deserved a second birthday party! So, with fall in full swing, I thought it was only fitting to make a fall cake recipe for his second batch of birthday desserts.
Insert these gluten free apple spice cupcakes.
These gluten free apple spice cupcakes are light yet moist. The apple cake is flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg, and the batter is filled with tiny dices of Macoun apples. If you haven’t tried a Macoun apple yet, they are wonderful to bake with in the fall (that’s generally when you find them available). These apples are sweet, yet slightly tart! So if you can’t decide between a Granny Smith or a Honeycrisp, Macoun’s are the best of both worlds (at least they are in my opinion). If you can’t find Macoun, you can also use Granny Smith, Haralson, or Gala apples.
The frosting for these cupcakes is a twist on a classic cream cheese frosting. Instead of using cream cheese, I topped these cupcakes with a cinnamon mascarpone frosting. The recipe makes just enough to frost all of the cupcakes, so you won’t have a huge batch left over. In other words, you won’t have any leftovers to eat with a spoon. Sorry in advance.
By the way, this recipe is for my cookbook adaption series, where I try to adapt a new gluten free recipe every month from a cookbook I find in my kitchen. Last time, I made these decedent caramel coffee brownies. I’m STILL drooling over them. This month, I went for something little bit different. Instead of using a cookbook, I’ll talk through adapting a recipe from one of my favorite online blogs, Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Here’s how I adapted it:
One of the reasons I picked this recipe is because it’s a great one to convert to gluten free. I’ve found that even though 1:1 flours say you can substitute cup for cup, you still need to make additional modifications. I generally add additional moisture and additional leavening, since gluten free flours can be heavy and can absorb more liquid that regular flour.
The original recipe calls for melted butter and brown sugar, a great indicator for adapting a recipe to be gluten free. Brown sugar contains molasses and can add great moisture to gluten free baked goods, so I just increased the amount and adjusted the granulated sugar to compensate for the increase. I also prefer to use oil in my cupcakes instead of creaming butter and sugar, as I find my cupcakes are more moist and slightly lighter in texture. For this recipe, I simply swapped the melted butter for a neutral oil (I used sunflower oil). To add just a bit of extra moisture, I then swapped a few Tablespoons of the oil for plain yogurt.
When it comes to flavor, I always like to increase the spices and extracts in gluten free baked goods. I also increase the leavening to help the cake rise with a heavier flour mixture…my favorite flour so far is Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour, but I always measure by weight to ensure I’m not using too much flour! I also spoon and level my flour, rather than scoop, before measuring by weight. Scooping flour out of the bag might result in using way too much flour.
Tips for making the frosting:
- Room temperature butter and mascarpone cheese are very important! If they are too cold, your frosting won’t combine right and may break…trust me on this one, it’s no fun to have lumpy frosting.
- Don’t over mix or you will have runny frosting! I start by whipping the butter for 2-3 minutes until it becomes lighter and paler in color. I then add the mascarpone cheese and whip just until it combines with the butter – the timing here will depend on the consistency of the mascarpone you purchase.
- Add in the vanilla, then slowly add in ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar at a time with your mixer on low speed. I mix in the sugar just until it’s combined, then I stop the mixer and add the next ½ cup. If I let the mixer continue to run on too high of speed for too long, I end up with a runnier frosting.
Once all the sugar has been added, add the cinnamon and turn your mixer up medium-low speed to beat in 1-2 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, just until it all comes together! I usually beat it for about 10-15 seconds, because I like my frosting very thick like buttercream. Feel free to beat it a little bit longer if you want a thinner or fluffier frosting!
This recipe was adapted from Sally’s Baking Addition
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