R.I.P. Toffee Apple Cupcakes: Allergies and Deb’s First Cupcake Heartbreak

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Cupcake disaster?!  WHAT?  I know, I never thought I’d be experiencing this kind of heartbreak either *hangs head in shame*.  I mean, I may not be a domestic goddess, but a batch of cute and fresh cupcakes are my pride and joy.  You might be thinking, ‘but, but…they don’t look bad in the picture…’ and you’re right, they looked just fine (I was quite fond of the chunky apple wedges on top, YUM!) and they tasted fine too.  So what went wrong?  The wrappers.  Those darn wrappers that I thought were so cute  and so festive because of their fall leaf print literally STUCK TO and PEELED OFF my precious little apple cakes!  *cue strangled cry of despair*.

And this was especially sad because of how much I adore baked apple goods.  And there’s a reason why baked apple sweet things are so close to my heart: I cannot eat fresh apples.  Here’s a little something you may not know about me: I have a gazillion allergies and a number of them are to fruit, specifically to the raw flesh of fruit.  Growing up, I was never allergic to food, but over time I’ve developed quite a few allergies and unfortunately for me, I have come to learn about these allergies the hard way through oral allergy syndrome.  In another words, eating fresh fruit that I am allergic to will cause my mouth and tongue and throat to swell up like a blowfish. 

I know, it is so not sexy and I am telling you, it is painful.  And the list is long: apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, pineapple, honeydew melon, and cherries.  And those are the ones I’m aware of.  There may be others lurking about.  I can eat these fruits when they are cooked, baked, or preserved, but not the actual fresh fruit.  Life’s not fair, I know.   

See those dark areas on the lower half of the cupcake?  Yes, from that point onward, the wrapper stuck to the cupcake and held on for dear life with a death grip and the more we tried to peel, the more the cakes succumbed to their untimely death *sigh*  I have always used plain jane white cupcake wrappers to bake in (and would just peel them off for photos to showcase the actual cake), and never had an issue, ever.  So when I decided to bake these toffee apple ones, I thought it would be pretty to use fall themed ones and oh my lordy did they ever destory my cakes! 😦  Let it be known that it is imperative to grease the printed wrappers with either butter or non-stick cooking spray before filling them with cupcake batter.  My heart still breaks a little at the memory.

BUT!  All was not lost.  After giving up on attempting to peel the cupcake killing papers off, my brother, my mum, and I were struck with an idea.  Why not just scoop the cupcake out with a spoon?  And so we did.  I was still very heartbroken, but the end result was a nice batch of our version of apple crumb:

Moral of the story?  Everyone has baking and cooking boo-boos, never give up after you mess something up, and remember to grease those damn cupcake wrappers.

Recipe for Toffee Apple Cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 18)

  • 2 apples (click here for a list of good baking apples and the ones to avoid)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 ⅟₄cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1⅟₂tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. butter (plus extra for greasing)
  • scant 1/2 cup of milk (“scant” meaning just “just short of” the specific measurement)
  • scant 1/2 cup of apple juice
  • 1 egg, beaten

Ingredients for Topping (optional)

  • 2 tbsp. light cream
  • 3 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsbp. butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Grease two 9-cup muffin/cupcake pans (or 18 wrappers).
  2. Core and coarsely grate one of the apples.  Slice the remaining apple into 1/4 inch thick wedges and toss in the lemon juice.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon, then stir in the sugar and grated apple.
  3. Melt the butter and mix with the milk, apple juice, and egg.  Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing lightly until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin/cupcake pan.  Put 2 apple slices on top of each cake.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until risen, firm, and golden brown.
  5. For the topping, place all the ingredients in a small pan and heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.  Increase the heat and boil rapidly for 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened and syrupy.  Cool slightly, then drizzle over the cakes and let set.

*****

Rceipe taken from Easy Cupcakes, Parragon Books Ltd 2009.  Photographs taken by me.

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