Monday, September 26, 2011

Brandy Apple Cupcakes with Blue Cheese Buttercream

It's as if Fall snuck in overnight without making a sound.  All the offerings at the farm stand have changed and I myself am more than delighted to welcome all the new produce.  The apples were orderly lined up in bins, pumpkins ready to take home; I just love this time of year.

I've seemed a little down; with good reason I assure you.  On top of a medical emergency in my own house, my best friend was diagnosed with that ugly word, so ugly; I don't even want to write it.  I felt helpless, but I'm finding ways to be of use.  I know food will be an important part of that.  Bringing food and a smile to someone who isn't well is always a boost.

When she wins her fight, and I have complete faith she will; I think a trip for the two of us is long overdue.  I could see us stopping in France first.  We could easily rock berets, and I could balance at least 6 baguettes underneath my arm and I think fall would be the perfect time of year.

Until we step off that plane, I figured why not bring a little of France to us.  When I saw Patty's Apple Spelt Pound Cake, I knew I was going to make it.  Somehow though, the tour bus got side tracked and I ended up making these cupcakes.

Brandy Apple Cupcakes with Blue Cheese Buttercream
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup peeled, cored and chopped baking apples (I used Jonathans)
¼ cup brandy
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs, separated
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. sea salt

Combine sugar, brandy and apples in a bowl and set aside.

Add egg whites to the bowl of a mixer and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl combine butter, egg yolks, flour, cinnamon, vanilla and salt, stir to combine. Add apple mixture and stir till combined.

Fold egg whites into the batter and scoop batter into 12 paper lined muffin cups.

Bake in 350 degree F oven for 16-18 minutes.

Blue Cheese Buttercream
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2-3 tbsp. milk

Beat the butter on high speed for 2-3 minutes until it softens and lightens in color. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add salt and blue cheese and slowly add in milk until the frosting is spreading consistency. I will add more if it seems too thick. The blue cheese really does pop in the icing and cuts through some of the sweetness.

You can either spread the frosting on or use a star tip and piping bag like I did.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

I also had a little bit of fun with some melted dark & white chocolate.  I bought an Eiffel Tower mold the last time I was at my favorite cake store; Spun Sugar in Berkeley, CA.  Somehow I never leave empty handed?  For the gilded look, I combined a little bit of gold luster dust with a little vodka and brushed it on.

You must go see Patty's icing job she did on the Pound Cake, her frilly baking panties are really showing on that one.

You'll have to let me know where you are headed next, so I can tag along on the bus. 




  1. Wow these cupcakes are so cute, what a great idea! Love your recipe :)

  2. Hi Gina-I had similar news with a friend last week. I will keep your friend in my prayers. These cupcakes are gorgeous!! Hope you have a wonderful week. hugs.xo

  3. Gina, these cupcakes of yours not only look stunning but love the sound of the flavour combinations, too; certainly would rock berets here! So sorry to hear about your friend but as you say, she's going to sail through all this. That trip sounds a brilliant idea. Hope all is well again after the emergency fright!

  4. Gina,
    I love the apples and brandy in these cupcakes. Such a clever combo, and the Eiffel towers are gorgeous. I want to be on your tour bus!

    I wish your friend the best and will keep her in my prayers.

  5. Oh sweetheart, hugs to both you and your best friend. I detest the heartache life brings, but she is so lucky to have you right now. I think a trip would be a much needed boost for you both. :)

    Blue cheese buttercream?? WOW I have GOT to try that! That sounds so interesting I bet its good!!

  6. Really sorry to hear about your best friend...(((HUG)))
    Those cupcakes look so adorable, and blue cheese frosting sounds really sensational.

  7. I am so very sorry to hear about your friend. She is in my prayers and thoughts. XO

    Your cupcakes are very unique. The buttercream is so amazing. I am not a fan of blue cheese, but perhaps in a buttercream frosting I could become a believer! hehe

    Much Love Gina!

  8. Great photos Gina and another one of your talented creations;thank you.

  9. I am sorry about your friend, Gina. It's always so scary. I am intrigued by the blue cheese in the buttercream here!

  10. Hugs to you. I know how tough it is when a dear friend is ill. She's going to love the tlc you'll provide via friendship and food. And, starting with these inspired cupcakes - you rock! Kate @ kateiscooking

  11. I like the idea of an adult cupcake.

  12. That first picture was WOW but that second picture was even better! Those cupcakes are to die for!

  13. You crack me up!!!! I wish I could use purple ink or something for that comment;-) Hey- I'm ready for a trip to Paris but if I can't jump on a plane tomorrow- I'll have one of your cupcakes instead, love the adult flavors- brandy and blue cheese, Wow;-) On a serious note, I'm sorry to hear such news about your friend but knowing what a good friend you are- I'm sure you will be a help and comfort to her. Hope you're otherwise enjoying your week my dear, are we ready for another lunch, do I see one in our future? Yes, I think I do!

  14. Blue cheese butter cream, now that's thinking! These look awesome and to throw on an Eiffel tower gave me an eyeful of oh la la...
    Take care,

  15. Blue Cheese Buttercream???? WOW!! Simply amazing.
    So sorry to hear about your friend, keep those trip plans handy and I hope you will be actually using them soon. We have had two friends with similar diagnoses in the last 3 weeks... it's tough. Two surgeries going on in the next 10 days.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your friend.

  16. Fall is the perfect time of year for a trip to Paris and, with the power of positive thinking, a strong will, and yummy baked goods you and your friend will be in Paris next fall! I'm wowed by the Blue cheese buttercream and your chocolate Eiffel towers!!!

  17. First I hope your family is alright, and I hope and wish that your friend fight and win!!!

    These cupcakes are masterpieces..what a creative woman you are, and I love this idea..very beautiful!!!! Sending you virtual hugs and kisses!!!

  18. Gina, my prayers goes out to you and your friend. Like the Koreans would put it *FIGHTING* :), just means, I have the utmost faith and believe that all of you will win the battle together. Swords up and charging. Your cupcake is so cute and I really love the Eiffel Tower choco decor. Hugs, Jo

  19. Oh, Gina, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's diagnosis...but good to know she'll have your support to win the battle. What fabulous cupcakes...I thought for certain you bought those beautiful Eiffel towers! Just beautiful~

  20. Gina, these look beautiful! I'm so sorry about your dear friend, though I'm sure your support and amazing friendship is comforting to her at this time. My thoughts are with you both as you bravely battle and conquer the beast. Best wishes.

    Those Eiffel towers are amazing, by the way.

  21. Gina-I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's diagnosis. I'm sure your Paris trip for both of you will come true, and she will get through this battle! Caring and support is so importantm, and you are there for her, it's half the battle.
    Your cupcakes are beautiful. Never had a cupcake with brandy in it...Yumm!
    My thoughts and prayers are with your friend at these difficult times!

  22. Gina, sorry to hear about about your best friend. I'm sure with your support and comfort, she'll win the battle.
    Your cupcake looks gorgeous!

  23. Gina, I really thought I had commented on this post because I was admiring your chocolate Eiffel Towers, but my comment's nowhere to be found! And no, I wasn't spamming you, my dear..LOL.

    On a more serious note though, what you've done here for your friend has reinforced to me what a good and caring person you are. I'm sad about her diagnosis but at the same time, I'm happy she's got you to lean on to. I hope you both get to travel to France together someday.

    Btw, blue cheese buttercream? You're too much, Gina! (in a really good way)

  24. Gina I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Maya said it perfectly, you are such a beautiful person and your friend will really benefit from having you there helping her through this. Keeping you both in my thoughts.

    When it rains, it pours but the rain always has an end. Everything will be better soon. You girls will have so much fun in the autumnal Parisian beauty :) Paris is a magical city.

    Love your cupcakes and the blue cheese buttercream sounds like heaven to me.

  25. My thoughts are with you, and your friend. Life is hard, but you have the right attitude about it all; it will all be ok. These cupcakes are beautiful, and sure to lift some spirits.

  26. I am so sorry about your friend Gina...wishing her a speedy and successful win!
    Your cupcakes are amazing... what a beautiful recipe!