St. Patrick's Day Treat: Irish Apple Cupcakes
Let's preface this with the fact that I do not like St. Patrick's Day. I am not Irish and I do not want to pretend to be Irish. Green just isn't my color and the thought of green beer and tiny green top hats and drunkenly singing Irish ballads is not how I want to spend my weekend (the weekend's are for Netflix, okay?). However much I end up disliking a holiday, there's always a silver lining: the food. In particular these Irish Apple Cupcakes.
While you can keep your corned beef and cabbage, I knew that people who lived in a cold and foggy climate like Ireland had to have some sort of delicious dessert to brighten their day. That's when I stumbled upon this recipe for Irish Apple Cake and turned it into Irish Apple Cupcakes.
Apple anything gets me excited. Ask Nick: any time there's an apple dessert on the menu that's what we're "sharing" (and by sharing I mean, I eat 75% #happywifehappylife). Combine that with cinnamon and a sugary streusel topping, you've got yourself a winning dessert.
As I mentioned, the original recipe was for a cake, not cupcakes. And yes, this is "Around the World in 28 Cakes" not 28 cupcakes. But when I thought about it, St. Patrick's Day is not a day for sitting down with your family around the table and discussing what you're thankful for. The celebration of the life of St. Patrick is a day to gather in a place as close to Ireland as possible, in most cases an Irish or Irish-themed pub, and to soak up the Irish way of life at your town's parade. With people being out and about, it's much easier to pop a few cupcakes into your bag and enjoy them on the parade route. They're also a great snack in between pints with your new "Irish" friends.
The success of these cupcakes is a balance between tart and cinnamon and a hint of sweetness. Granny Smith apples have a tart sweetness that really stands out against the cinnamon of the cake. You layer the chunks of apple on top of the batter rather than incorporating them. This way the apples give you an initial soft crunch as your teeth sink in and pairs instead of mixes with the cinnamon. The cake itself is not overly sweet so the streusel topping, a marriage of butter and sugar, is just enough to remind you that this is a dessert. And a fantastic one at that!
These Irish Apple Cupcakes are so easy to make. Follow the recipe pretty closely because it makes assembling the cupcakes easy. When exposed to the air, apples brown quickly so it's best to wait until right before assembling the cupcakes to peel and dice them. You could also do it ahead of time and sprinkle the chunks with lemon juice which slows the oxidization process.
Whether you'll be out at the pub tomorrow night or attending a parade this coming weekend, you'll want to have these Irish Apple Cupcakes as a sweet reminder of St. Patrick's homeland!