Vanilla Rose Cupcakes Without Frosting
I don't like frosting on my cake! There, I said it.
I maybe in the minority here, but I really don't. I love the way frosting looks on cake, all piled up in beautifully soft, puffy cloud like swirls, but when faced with eating it, it's just too much for me. To the horror of everyone around me, I unceremoniously scrape off all the frosting, before diving into the light, fluffy, moist cake below.
So, given that I'm not crazy about frosting, I've been experimenting with frosting alternatives that will dress up a cake real good; make it total eye candy without packing in unnecessary sugar and calories.
And here's my latest creation- Easy Vanilla Rose Cupcakes baked with thin slices of apple. They look so pretty and replacing frosting with fruit is a healthier, less calorific alternative. All the apple roses can be made ahead of time and then just inserted into the cupcake batter before baking. So simple.
Plus, it's a real piece of cake to transport these no icing, rose cupcakes. There's no danger of them getting banged up or melting in the heat like traditionally frosted cupcakes. So these are the ideal little dessert for summer picnics, camping trips, backyard barbecues or children's birthday parties. Imagine... no sticky fingers and faces. No mess.
I mean, look at them. With a light dusting of powdered sugar, they are like little gourmet cupcakes. Impressive enough to serve at brunch with the gals or for a special occasion like Mother's Day. I can assure you, that everyone will be asking how you made these.
The Secret to Easy Vanilla Rose Cupcakes
So, here's my secret.... since preparing the apple roses take a teeny weeny bit of effort, I use a Classic Yellow box cake mix to make things easier and quicker from me. There's no shame in it, you know. That way, I can devote my effort to getting the roses right, without worrying about how my cake is going to turn out.
Below, you will find my tips to elevate box cake mix and make it taste homemade. With a couple of easy substitutions, nobody would ever guess! The Box Cupcake Hack.
And for those of you who are turning up your noses at ever considering a box cake mix, then at the end of this post, you will find a Vanilla Cupcake Recipe from Scratch.
Box Cupcake Hack- How to Make Box Cupcakes Taste Better
There's something to be said about the convenience of a box cake mix. I always have a box or two stored away in my pantry for a rainy day. When I need to make a dessert at short notice, it's just so easy to reach into my pantry, open up a box of cake mix, throw in a bit of oil, water and eggs, beat it up and bake. No weighing, measuring, sifting or overthinking required. I have yet to be disappointed by a box of cake mix. The only downside is I know I took the easy way out and when people ask for my recipe, I have to sheepishly admit I made it from a box of cake mix.
So, recently I've decided to put my own spin on box cake mix....that way, I can stretch the truth a bit since technically it isn't a 100% box cake mix recipe. Enter 'The Box Cupcake Hack'.
If you're wondering how do you hack a cake mix, well, there's a really simple way to make boxed cake taste homemade.
1. Replace vegetable oil with an equal quantity of butter.
2. Replace water with milk.
3. You could add an additional egg (but I don't).
Then continue to follow the directions and bake times as specified on the box.
Voila! You've just improved boxed cake mix.
How to Make Vanilla Rose Cupcakes
- Prepare the apple petals by thinly slicing and microwaving the apple slices to soften them.
- Prepare the cake batter.
- Spoon batter into pre-lined cupcake pans, filling each only about 1/2 full.
- Roll the apple slices into a rose.
- Insert the rose into the cupcake batter, pressing it in gently and opening out the petals slightly.
- Cool and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
- Choose apples with a nice orangey-red skin or reddish-yellow skin. Gala apples work well. Without removing the apple peel, cut the apples in two.
- Starting on the short side of each half, with a gentle sawing motion slice the apple into thin slices. This works best with a serrated knife. As you slice in a sawing motion, push the knife against the body of the apple. You will get evenly thin slices this way.
-Place the slices on a plate and microwave them for 30 seconds, just long enough to make the apple slices flexible (not soft). If you hold a slice between your thumb and forefinger and shake it, it should be supple and floppy. That means it is flexible enough to roll into a rose without breaking.
- Cover with cling wrap and cool in the refrigerator until ready to use. It's easiest to work with cooled and refrigerated apple slices. Work with the apple slices after they have been refrigerated for 2-3 hours.
Variation | Spiced Apple Pie Cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcake Recipe from Scratch
2 1/2 cup (163g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
12 tbsp (84g) salted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cup (155g) sugar
4 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (150ml) milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together using a hand held blender.
- Add the oil and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl and continue to beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat well.
- Now add the eggs slowly to the mixing bowl. Add one at a time, mixing to combine each one before adding the next.
- Spoon half the flour mixture, one spoon a time into the batter in the mixing bowl. Continue to mix well and beat into a smooth batter.
- Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined.
- Add the remaining flour mixture to the batter, one spoon at a time. Mix until well combined and smooth.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners filling to about 1/2 full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.