Apple Raspberry Cupcakes…or Muffins? You Decide


Many years ago, muffins were pretty straight forward, basic quick breads with relatively small amount of fat and sugars, good while warm but quick to dry out after the first day. In these “olden days” before cake mixes were widely available, there were also a lot of basic cake recipes (often categorized as “one egg cakes”) that were sweeter and with higher fat content than muffins but still pretty quick to make.

Today of course we have muffins piled so high with added ingredients–especially sugary toppings and lots of fatty ingredients (more butter and oil, nuts, coconut, etc.)–that they often rival and even surpass the calories in some of the equally overindulged cupcakes available at bakeries and coffee shops. Sometimes about the only difference seems to be that cupcakes are frosted and muffins have some kind of rich crumbly topping.

What sets these cupcakes apart is the rich caramelization of the fruit. Except for that slow cooking of the apples, the cupcakes are quick to make. My recommendation? Double (or triple) the fruit preparation ahead of time. Then you can also use it for an ice cream topping or a second batch of cupcakes later in the week.

Frugal, with raspberries in the batter? Well yes, if you have access to your own raspberries. If you don’t, then strawberries or blueberries could be substituted when they are the most reasonably priced fruits. Dried cranberries (probably only 1/2 to 3/4 cup) might even be a substitute for the raspberries.

Apple Raspberry Cupcakes

Fruit mixture:
3 medium apples, about 12 oz or 2 1/2 cups
1 T butter
2 T sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1 c raspberries

Cake batter:
1/3 c butter
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 c milk

1.  Fruit mixture:

  • Core the apples and dice them into small pieces–no need to peel.  

  • Melt 1 T butter in a non-stick pan and stir in the 2 T sugar, spices, and diced apples. 
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the apples are very soft and caramelized. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in the raspberries. Set aside to cool.

2.  Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Stir in the egg and vanilla and blend well.
3.  Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter mixture alternately with the milk.
4.  Gently fold in the cooled fruit mixture. Spoon the batter into a muffin pan lined with cupcake papers.
 5.  Bake at 350 degrees about 15 to 20 minutes.

 Spread with a basic cream cheese icing when cool.

 This will make approximately 12 to 15 cupcakes.

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