It’s no secret that I’m a fan of orchard-fresh fruit. Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown, because of its location and being a tradition for me, is one of my first stops for fresh cherries, peaches and berries, plus other goodies in between. If you’ve never been cherry picking, I suggest you find out the picking season at your local orchid and make time to pick – then make a batch of Chocolate Apple Cupcakes with Cherry Buttercream Frosting.
Nothing compares to ripe cherries fresh off the tree, versus cherries that have been shipped across country. Picking them by the basket-full under those branches is just dreamy, and you can freeze pitted cherries to use later.
Rachel VanDuzer, from Weaver’s Orchard, has a palate for seasonal foods prepared with attention to healthful ingredients. In this delicious recipe, she reduced the fat by using applesauce (clever woman!). Applesauce can also be used as an egg substitute in some cakes and sweet quick-breads. And Rachel says that in future cupcake experiments, she’ll try reducing the sugar by a half cup.
Rachel created these cupcakes for her son’s first birthday, as cherries are one of his favorite snacks. She wanted a treat that would be enjoyed by all, children included. She says, “The texture of this chocolate cake is a little more dense than traditional cake, but it’s really, truly delicious. And then there’s the frosting that’s just to-die-for. I’ve made it with cherry jam and with frozen cherries.”
Rachel says, “I realize that everyone has their own definition of what’s healthy and what’s not, so if you prefer to use a different kind of oil or flour, go ahead and play with the recipes. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!”
Happy baking and cherry picking!
- Cupcake Ingredients
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup baking cocoa
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- [b]Cherry Buttercream Frosting Ingredients[/b]
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup cherry jam or chopped fresh or frozen cherries, juices drained but reserved
- 5-6 cups confectioner's sugar
- Cupcake Instructions
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with applesauce until combined.
- For cupcakes, add liners to two muffin tins and divide the batter accordingly for 20-24 cupcakes. For cake, pour into a greased 9x13-inch baking pan.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 18-22 minutes for cupcakes, 30-35 minutes for cake or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before icing.
Cherry Buttercream Frosting Instructions
- Place butter and jam or cherries into a mixing bowl, food processor or an electric mixer. Cream until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add the confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency. If the mixture gets too thick you can add water or the reserved cherry juice. Do not add milk, as the cherries can make the milk curdle.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes or cake.