Awhile ago I had the idea that you might be able to replace the wrapper in a cupcake with very thinly sliced apple. I decided I wanted the cupcakes to be some sort of cross between a cake and a tart, and so I used a frangipane based cake recipe I modified from Orangette. The result was something that was sort of like an apple upside down cupcake, and was really delicious. The cake was especially almondy. Overall though, I’m honestly not sure it was worth the trouble, as getting all the apple slices made and the cupcake cups lined with them was a bit of a pain. The almond cake recipe is good enough on its own though that it is certain to show up again. Most of the work in this recipe shows up in the assembly section, I tried to take decent pictures. The cake actually comes together really easily. Use Granny Smith Apples for this recipe, they stay firmer than most others when baked (I tried Golden Delicious on a test cupcake, they just fell apart). To make thin strips out of the apples I used a vegetable peeler. I used this type, except I got a cheap one at Kroger for $1. It’s surprisingly effective, though you should be very careful not to peel your fingers (I’ve done it several times now).
Makes ~ 9 cupcakes½ cup flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt.
2. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer, and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, flour, and extracts and beat until combined.
3. Set the dough aside while preparing the apples.
*You can make almond flour by grinding blanched almonds in a food processor until they reach a sandy consistency (this is what I did). I've been told you should be careful not to overdo it, otherwise you can end up with almond butter. You can also buy almond flour / meal at some grocery stores or specialty stores.
2 Granny Smith Apples
1. Peel an apple. Cut the apple into quarters and remove the core. Use the apple peeler to cut very thin strips of apple.
2. Layer the strips around the cupcake pan. Press the apples in hard so that they take the shape of the cup. Make sure the apples overlap, to try to reduce the amount of cake that gets through to get stuck to the pan.
3. Fill each apple lined cup with a little less than a ¼ cup of batter. I recommend using a measuring cup and a spoon to get the batter in. Try to be careful, because once the batter gets in there, you really can’t move it around without messing up the apples.
4. Bake the cupcakes for 17 – 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
5. Let the cupcakes cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Once they are cooled run a dull knife around the edges of the cupcakes, then invert onto a flat surface. I didn’t frost these, because I thought they were good as is. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.