If you can't make it to the parks for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, no problem! Here's a jumbo spiced apple cake topped with pecan praline, vanilla buttercream, cream cheese icing, and candy apple edible "glass". You don't have to go to Disney parks to enjoy this iconic, fan-fav cupcake.
Preparation time for this one is a little more than average, but only because there's a few extra components that you have to make to make this taste delectable and look amazing.
This recipe makes 12 jumbo cupcakes that you can serve to your favorite people in the world and give them a little, magical taste of Disney World without having to spend top dollar at the parks.
Do not forget that all recipes can be adjusted or tweaked to your liking. So, if you want a quicker version that tastes just as good...skip the candy apple edible glass and one of the buttercreams for the same delicious fall flavors.
All you really need are the cupcakes, pralines, and a buttercream of your choice. But, if you want to take them over the top in the looks department...keep reading! That's my specialty, so let's get baking.
Tips for Successful Poisoned Apple Cupcakes
First, you need to decide if are you going to make these in one day or split it into two days. If you are a beginner, I recommend you do a two-day process to avoid getting overwhelmed.
The most time-consuming components are the buttercream, cream cheese icing, and the candy apple edible glass. You have to color the buttercream red and leave some of it white. And then you have to make a cream cheese cinnamon roll icing that is to die for as a final topping/decor for your spooky cupcakes.
Lastly, you have to cook the candy apple mixture to exactly 300 degrees F for the perfect crunch factor. This requires you to be near the stove for 15-20 mins watching the thermometer closely.
Warning...sugar candy is very hard and can be sharp after breaking it. Remove it before serving to children and let adults know to eat it carefully or seperately. It tastes like delicous cinnamon candy, but is very hard/crunchy.
So, anywho....I recommend you make all three of these components the day before you plan to assemble and serve your cupcakes, if you are able.
If you are doing everything the same day, I recommend you make the cupcakes first so they can cool and then make the praline and top them off before storing them in an airtight container while you make everything else.
The praline topping will help keep the cupcakes nice and moist. Yup, I said it...MOIST. Terrible word, but it's exactly how you want your cupcakes to be when serving them.
Once your buttercream is made, you will want to color 2/3 of it with a red gel food color. For a deeper color, do this the day before and let the color develop. And be sure to use a good quality color, so you do not have to use as much. My go-to gel colors are from Wilton and ChefMaster (affiliate link)
You can use a half-dome silicone mold (affiliate link) or an ice cream scoop (affiliate link) like mine to create the "apples" out of your red buttercream. Get crafty! Just make sure it's somewhat firm before placing it on top of your cupcakes to keep the shape.
Be sure to taste all of your components before assembling. Nothing should be overly sweet. You can always add an extra little pinch of salt to counteract sweetness if needed. But, I believe the measurments I have provided below will get you to the perfect level of sweetness.
You can make your buttercream and candy apple pieces a day ahead. Just store them in the fridge and make sure to bring your white buttercream back to room temperature and re-whip it for the smoothest finish/texture.
Because these are packed with buttercream, keep them in a cool place once assembled. The fridge will dry them out if not in an airtight container, so just leave them on the counter in a cool room before serving.
Also, when making the cupcakes...I chose to use a muffin pan to make mine the most similar to the Magic Kingdom version. But, you are more than welcome to pull out your trusty cupcake pan. It will work exactly the same, you will just need a smaller ice cream scoop or silicone mold for the buttercream "apples".
Do not be afraid to make the recipe your own. It's a fall recipe, so use any and all of your favorite fall spices to really make your cupcakes POP. Cardamom is another great addition that I would have added, if I was not out at the time of making these. But, you cannot go wrong with a little extra cinnamom and nutmeg in its place (wink wink).
The main things I learned from making these cute and spooky cupcakes are, get creative and use things you have, salt is perfect for making sure they aren't too sweet. And making the buttercream, cream cheese icing, and the candy apple mixture before assembling the cupcakes definitely helps a ton. All in all making these tasty and unique treats will for sure make you feel like you're at the Disney parks.
Here's a reference photo I got from Disney Food Blog. My favorite news source for everything Disney...especially food related! I think I did pretty well for my first attempt. Let me know what you think in the comments. ❤️
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon, ground
2 tsp nutmeg, ground
1/2 tsp ginger, ground
1/4 tsp clove, ground (optional)
4 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 large apples, diced small
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
2 cups pecans, halves or chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup pasteurized egg whites (170g)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
Tiny dot of purple gel food color (optional)
Red gel food color, chef master or wilton recommended
Candy Apple Edible Glass
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup water
1 drop of cinnamon oil
Red gel food color
Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll Icing
3.5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp milk, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar
small pinch of salt
Step 1: Prepare batter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and prepare a muffin tin with liners
Sift together your flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix it well and set it aside.
Next whip together your room-temperature, softened butter with the sugar. A hand or stand mixer is best, but you can also do it by hand with a whisk.
Once the butter & sugar are fluffy and lighter in color (5-10 mins later), mix in one egg at a time. Make sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next one.
Now, add the spices and vanilla (don't be afraid to add your favorite fall spices here). Mix until smooth and fluffy.
Finally, alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk. Stop halfway through to add your apple pieces to avoid over-mixing.
Stop mixing as soon as the batter comes together and no more dry ingredients are visible.
Fill your muffin tins a little over 3/4 of the way and bake for 18-20 mins. Check for doneness with a toothpick. It will come out clean when they are done and the tops will spring back when gently pressed down.
Once done, let cool completely. And then store them in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble them.
Step 2: Prepare pecan pralines
Combine the cold butter, sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, and salt in a pot.
Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Use a thermometer to track the temperature. Once it reaches 236 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the heat.
Stir in your vanilla extract and pecans for about 2-3 minutes.
Scoop 1-2 Tbsp of this mixture on top of your spiced, apple cupcakes.
Let them cool for a few minutes and then place them back into an airtight container until you are ready to do your final assembly.
Step 3: Prepare buttercream
Combine pasteurized egg whites, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in a stand mixer or bowl with a whisk attachment.
Mix for a few minutes until silky smooth and fluffy.
Optional: add a very tiny dot of purple gel food color to make the buttercream even whiter. It counteracts the yellow tones of the butter.
Slowly add in your room-temperature butter to the egg white/powdered sugar mixture, while mixing on a low/medium speed. Let each stick of butter incorporate before adding the next one.
Once all of the butter is added, add your vanilla extract and mix on high for 5-10 mins.
You will know it is done when it is smooth, shiny, and tastes like ice cream. If it still tastes or feels like just butter, keep mixing.
Finally, color 2/3 of the buttercream red with gel food color. Place the red buttercream in the fridge to firm up, and prep your white buttercream in a piping bag with the end cut off. Leave the white buttercream at room temperature, if you are assembling the cupcakes the same day.
Step 4: Prepare Candy Apple Edible Glass
Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a pot. Mix well.
Cook over medium heat until it reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to avoid over or under-cooking it.
Add a very small drop of cinnamon oil (it is very concentrated) and then your red food color. Mix well and add more red color to reach your desired color, if needed. It will bubble up, but just mix until your color is fully incorporated, and then let it sit for 1-2 minutes while the bubbles disappear and it starts to look glossy.
Pour the mixture onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and tilt the pan to get the thinnest layer possible. Place in the fridge for a few minutes to set even faster.
Break it into "glass" shards once cooled and set. It shouldn't take long in the fridge.
Set aside for assembly.
Step 5: Prepare Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll Icing
Combine room-temperature cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Mix well until smooth.
Add sifted powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla. Mix until combined and smooth.
Finally, mix in the milk to thin the mixture to the proper consistency. You want it to be thick but still run just a bit before setting. Add more or less milk as needed.
Put it in a piping bag and set it aside for assembly.
Step 6: Assemble Cupcakes
Use a large ice cream scoop that has been warmed by dipping it into hot water for a few seconds. Dry it off and then scoop a ball of your red buttercream.
Scrape the bottom of the scoop off with a butter knife or something flat to create a half-dome shape for your "apple" buttercream piece.
Place the half dome of red buttercream onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat until you have no more buttercream and then place in the fridge to firm. If needed, microwave the buttercream for 10 secs, mix until smooth, and rechill to start with a fresh bowl for your scoops.
Take your white buttercream in the piping bag and pipe 2 rings around the edge of your praline-topped cupcakes.
Then, place one of the chilled red buttercream "apples" on top, in the center. Add crushed sugar candy around the edge for a spooky decoration.
Take your cinnamon roll icing and pipe a very tiny 4-point star on top. It should run down the red dome "apple" just a bit before setting, due to the cold temperature of the red buttercream.
Finally, add a small sliver of chocolate or black licorice for the "apple stem".
Keep in a cool place before serving and ENJOY!
Another show-stopping addition to your recipe arsenal...
This is yet another recipe that will have everyone thinking you are a pastry chef. I know it takes a little more prep than most of my recipes. But, I promise you it is totally worth it. The flavors are so balanced and you can tell by the photos and videos...it's GORGOEUS. Take it to your next Halloween or Thanksgiving party and wait for the compliments to roll in.