Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apples to Apples!

Over this past holiday break, my family played the game Apples to Apples, which is one of the best games ever in my book.  My brother and sister-in-law got me this new cookbook called "What's New, Cupcake?" and I was dying to try something in there.  This book specializes in, shocker I know, cupcakes and teaches you how to decorate all of these amazing looking cupcakes from rubber duckies to walruses.  In honor of the game Apples to Apples, I decided to try to make the cupcakes that look like this great fruit.

Apple Cupcakes

Cupcake Recipe
1 Box White Cake Mix
1 Cup Buttermilk
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
Red Cupcake Liners

This is one of the simplest recipes ever.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a box combine all of the ingredients and mix on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.  Place the red cupcake liners in the cupcake tin, and fill each cupcake up 2/3 full.   Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool in tin for 5 minutes before transfering the cupcakes onto a wire rake.

Apple Decorating Tools

Chocolate covered Mini Doughnuts
1 Can of Vanilla Frosting
Red Food Coloring (the gel is better than the liquid!)
Red Decorating Sugar (at least a cup)
Tootsie Rolls
Green Taffy (you can use anything that you can shape into leaves)

First, you need to add the food coloring to the Vanilla frosting until it is to your desired color of red.  Set this aside, and take the doughnuts and cut the bottom part of the doughnut off so that it is even.  Next, take the cooled cupcakes (these must be cooled completely through!!!) and cut off the top most rounded part of the cupcake so that it is leveled out as well (don't level the cupcake with the liner though).  Take a dollop of the red frosting, and put it on the cupcake and smooth over the top of each cupcake.  Take the doughnuts and place them on top.  Next, frost the cupcakes completely until each one is fully covered by the frosting and smoothed out (use a frosting spatula to make it easier!).

Once you have frosted the cupcakes, pour your red decorating sugar into a bowl, and you can either roll the cupcakes into the frosting to cover them all or you can sprinkle the sugar on top.  I like the rolling technique because it gives you a very even distribution of the sugar as well as helping to smooth out the frosting.  Set the cupcakes aside.

Now it is time to get the leaves and stems ready.  For the stems, take the Tootsie Rolls and cut them in half.  Take each half and roll out until they are smooth and form them into a stem shape.  For the leaves, roll out the green taffy into flat pieces, cut out leaf shapes, and bend them until you have the shape you want (I didn't have many options for green taffy candy where I was at, so I bough the multi-colored sugared fruit slices, and used the green ones by cuting out small shapes). 

Take the stems and place them directly into the center of the cupcakes.  Take the leaves and place them as you like using two on some cupcakes and one on others.

Overall, this recipe is super easy and it makes for an awesome looking gift.  I brought these over to my Grandparent's house as well as to my aunt, uncle and cousins, and they were amazed by how pretty they were.  Want to boost the presentation?  Get a picnic basket and put down a checkered cloth in it and place the apples inside.  I really wish this "apple" was what the doctor was talking about with that old saying.....

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