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Friday, April 1, 2016

Chocolate Apple Cupcakes









Many years ago, I found a chocolate apple cake that was moist and a favorite dessert of my kids. Unfortunately, it was one of those recipes that I managed to lose track of. As I recall, it was from a little paperback cookbook of apple recipes, and I think I gave that away in one of my purges of cookbooks--something I have been doing for a lot of years now, especially as I rely more and more on the internet for sources and ideas.

Believe it or not, I have made almost an entire bushel of apples into apple crisps this fall. I have also canned more than 30 quarts of applesauce and still have a little apple butter from last year's crop, so it was time to find something a little different. 

Something like a chocolate apple cake. 

Unfortunately, a search through my recipe cards, my few remaining cookbooks, and my computer recipe file turned up nothing.

Nothing, that is, until I came across a recipe that I had pulled from off the internet, years ago. Unfortunately I can't credit the site anymore, since the earlier URL is no longer active. Still, because I took the original and played with it a bit, I guess I can call it my own. 

A few proportions were changed, along with the overall method, trying to simplify as much as possible.  In the end, it came out pretty much as I remembered that earlier cake--moist and chocolate-y yet not too rich. And, if you have apples readily available from your own trees or a local orchard, pretty frugal as well.

A word of caution: When the recipe says the batter is thick, believe it! Every time I make this, I have to go back and remind myself that there is no liquid other than the oil and the apples in the recipe. That really is okay! If you have really crisp, really "dry" apples, you might end up adding a little milk or water, but this will hold together very well even without that.


Chocolate Apple Cupcakes

2 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1/3 c cocoa
1 t soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t black pepper
3/4 c canola oil
2 eggs
3 c apples, cored but not peeled and finely diced--pack lightly into the measuring cup for measuring

1/2 c chopped walnuts

1.  Sift the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.

2.  Stir in the oil, eggs, and 1 cup of the apples. Begin beating with a mixer until mostly blended.

3.  Gradually stir in the remaining apples and beat at medium speed for about 3 minutes. The batter will be very thick, so it will be best to use a mixer for this rather than trying to beat by hand.

4.  Fold in the walnuts.

5.  Line muffin pans with cupcake liners and spoon the batter evenly into each one. Fill each liner about 3/4 full.  This recipe makes about 18 to 22 cupcakes; if you don't have enough muffin pans to bake all at once, it will be all right to leave the remaining batter standing at room temperature while the first pan bakes.

6.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the center of a cupcake springs back when lightly touched. Frost as desired when cool.



Variations:

Omit walnuts in batter. Mix 1/2 c brown sugar, 1/2 c chopped walnuts, and 1 c mini chocolate chips and sprinkle over each cupcake before baking.

This may be made into a cake by pouring the batter into a well-oiled 9 X 13 pan and baking for about 25 to 32 minutes.

These also work as mini-cupcakes, making at least 48 and actually, closer to 60. Don't overfill the cups--this batter has an amazing rise for only a teaspoon of soda in a recipe as large as this. Omit walnuts in the batter and then put a small walnut piece in the center of each. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a finger pressed lightly in the top does not make an impression. Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the pan, as they are very tender when hot. These have enough brownie-like crust on the top that they really need no further frosting.









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