If you’ve been following my blog, you already know that I’m a maple addict. I fell in love with maple everything when I was very young, and my obsession hasn’t abated with age. Today I indulged myself in the kitchen, and used almost an entire bottle of my beloved Mapleine. May I just say it smelled like heaven in here?
Not only did I make Maple Nut Cupcakes, I made maple crumbles and hard candy maple leaves for decoration. The cupcakes delighted me, because they came out extremely light and fluffy. The crumble was just as I expected, too. The leaves – those were a bit of a challenge. I know what NOT to do now, and can steer you in the right direction if you want to try making them.
If you like to lick cake beaters, you are going to love this batter. Seriously. It tastes just like maple nut ice cream, and is irresistible.
I used cream cheese frosting for these cupcakes, adding Mapleine (my favorite maple flavoring) to about a half cup of it for painting stripes in my pastry bag…giving the frosting some pretty brown accents when piped.
This recipe makes at least 36 cupcakes – maybe a few more. I have a tendency to fill my cupcake liners too full, giving my cupcakes that dreaded “muffin top” look. If you are more restrained, you’ll probably get 40 much more attractive cupcakes. The folded in egg whites are what make the cakes so light and tender, but also a little more delicate, so I recommend that you walk gently and avoid slamming doors while they are baking, just as a preventive measure.
|Maple Nut Cupcakes|| |
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon white sugar, divided
- 4 eggs, divided
- 1 tablespoon maple flavoring (more if you want a stronger maple flavor)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3¼ cups cake flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and 2 cups of sugar together until very light.
- Separate eggs. Put whites in a small bowl and set aside. Add egg yolks to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl often.
- Add maple flavoring and vanilla and beat well.
- Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together twice.
- Combine the sour cream and milk. Stir well, but don't worry about getting all of the lumps out.
- Add approximately ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the batter and stir until combined. Add ⅓ of the sour cream/milk mixture and stir until combined. Repeat until all has been added and mixed.
- Stir in the walnuts.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy and slightly thickened. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently but thoroughly fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Spoon into lined cupcake pans, approximately ⅔ full.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
- Cool in the pans on a rack for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pans, letting the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds powdered sugar, divided (about 7 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and creamy.
Add salt, and gradually add 6 cups of powdered sugar, beating well.
Slowly add whipping cream, beating well for 1 minute.
Add additional powdered sugar if needed for desired piping texture.
To make the Maple Crumble, all you need is a candy thermometer and pure maple syrup. I used Grade B organic syrup from Trader Joe’s for two reasons:
- Grade B maple syrup actually has a stronger maple flavor, which is a good thing in my book!
- My sister had just given me a bottle, so I didn’t have to go to town and buy some.
The recipe for making crumble is the same one you would use to make those lovely little Vermont maple candies that come out during the holidays. The pure-sugar-melt-in-your-mouth candies that many of us have overindulged in, making ourselves sick even after our parents warned us not to eat more than one or we’d be sorry. Whew. I feel better.
To make crumbles, you simply stir the mixture a little longer than you would if you were pouring it into molds. Spread out on a lightly buttered cookie sheet, it dries quickly and can be crumbled easily with your fingers. If you have any left over, it would be wonderful on hot cereal or mixed into a streusel topping for muffins!
1 cup pure Grade B maple syrup (don’t try using regular syrup – it won’t work!)
- Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter.
- Pour syrup into medium sauce pan (to give it room to foam) and turn heat between medium and medium-high.
- Cook, stirring gently, until it reaches the soft ball stage – 235 F.
Remove from heat immediately and allow the mixture to cool for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Spread onto the prepared pan. If it is too thick to spread evenly, cover with a piece of foil and press to flatten.
- When dry and firm, crumble it with your fingers and keep in a airtight container until ready to use.
Hard candy leaves would have been easy if I’d had hard candy molds, but I had to improvise, using a small maple leaf cookie cutter. The recipe made a little more than I expected, so my candy was thicker than it should have been, making it hard to form the leaves. So…I learned how to get around that, and am passing it on to you.
You’ll need a small leaf-shaped cookie cutter, a large baking sheet with sides (think jelly roll pan) and a candy thermometer.
This recipe was slightly revised from a Taste of Home recipe.
HARD MAPLE CANDY
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons Mapleine (or other maple flavoring)
a stick of butter for greasing the cookie cutter
- Butter a large baking sheet with sides.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Turn your burner to a temperature between medium and medium-high. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the candy thermometer reads 300 F. Immediately remove from heat.
- When the bubbles have settled a bit, add maple flavoring. Stir well and pour into pan. Lift and drop pan several times to spread the candy. You may have to help spread it with a metal spatula.
- Watch the candy carefully. Once it is beginning to firm, but is not yet hard, press the cookie cutter lightly into butter and then into the candy. Butter the cutter for each leaf. Once all of the leaves have been cut, go back over them with the cutter to make sure they are still cut clear through.
- Once the candy is hard, carefully punch out the leaves. The extra candy can be eaten in broken pieces or crushed as a decoration for cookies or pastries.
The most important part of this post is the cake recipe. I loved eating mine without any frosting or decorations, which – with my sweet tooth – is saying a lot! Whether you use canned frosting, sprinkles from a jar, or jump through all the hoops above, what really matters is that cake. I think I’m in love!