I’d hoped that I could use fresh apricots for the cupcakes, but I’m no farmer and didn’t realize that it’s not quite apricot season yet. I could have used chunks of dried apricots. However, I didn’t want little chewy bits in the cupcakes. I wanted a smooth and pervasive apricot flavor.
How to Turn Dried Apricots Into Apricot Puree
I decided to reconstitute some dried apricots and turn them into an apricot puree. I got the idea that I could use a pumpkin cupcake recipe and replace the pumpkin with apricot puree, adding some of the spices from the stew. This worked incredibly well.
You could use the same technique with any of your favorite dried fruits!
Here’s how to do it:
- Dump your dried fruit into a pot. For these cupcakes, I used 1/2 lb of dried apricots.
- Add liquid to the pot until the fruit is just covered. You can use any liquid – water, juice, wine, whatever flavor you like. I used mead (honey wine).
- Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. The fruit should be soft and most of the liquid should be absorbed.
- Drain out any remaining liquid. You may want to save this. I had about 1/8 C of the apricoty mead left and I ended up just dumping that into the cake batter. I couldn’t let it go to waste.
- Put the fruit into the food processor and run it until it becomes one big sticky mush. It made about 1 C of apricot puree.
Note: I must point out that I took the two ugly pictures of the apricots to the right. Clearly the cupcake photo at the top is the work of J. Pollack Photography.
The Apricot Cupcake Recipe
To come up with the apricot cupcake recipe, I started off with the same recipe that I used to make my pumpkin chili cupcakes. However, I subbed the pureed apricots for the pumpkin, added some honey, used different spices, and added some of the mead. Basically, I changed it entirely.
Apricot Cupcakes with Almond Butter Frosting: One Way to Bake with Dried Fruit
- 1 C apricot puree see recipe above
- 1/3 C vegetable oil
- 2/3 C sugar
- 1/3 C honey
- 1/4 C soy milk
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 C flour
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- 1/4 t ground cloves
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t baking powder
Almond Butter Frosting Ingredients
- 1/2 C butter softened
- 1 C almond butter
- 3 T milk or as needed (I used heavy whipping cream since that's what I had on hand. I'm sure milk would be tasty too, but I wouldn't recommend skim.)
- 2 C confectioners' sugar
In a medium bowl, stir together apricot, oil, sugar, honey, soy milk, and vanilla.
Sift in the flour, spices, baking soda, and baking powder. Do not over-mix.
If you have some - add the extra liquid from the reconstituting process. Do not add more than 1/8 C of liquid.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
Bake for 20 min at 350 F.
Almond Butter Frosting Instructions
Place the butter and almond butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer.
Gradually mix in the sugar, and when the frosting starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.
The Almond Butter Frosting Recipe
I got the recipe for my almond butter frosting by modifying an allrecipes recipe for peanut butter frosting. I love this frosting! In fact, everyone loved this frosting! It was not too sweet and not too nutty (like frostings made using almond extract). It was just perfect.
At some point, I’m going to make it again with cashew butter. I think that would be yummy too!
What’s Poking out the Top?
The thing sticking out the top of the cupcake is simply a dried apricot.
Do the Apricot Cupcakes have a Shot at Being in Wedding 2.0?
Groom 2.0 said the cupcakes were contenders. The cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg combination blends really well with the almond butter and gave the cupcakes an earthy, Fall kind of flavor – perfect for their Fall wedding.
I tried to find out if Bride 2.0 felt the same way. Could they actually agree on a cupcake? She texted me with: “Had the cupcake a couple of minutes ago. It was good. Liked the moistness of the cake.” She knows that this leaves me in great suspense. Good? Does good = contender? She didn’t use the word “great.” I guess we’ll all have to wait and see.
What Did Everyone Else Think?
Jonathan thought the cupcakes were some of the best ones yet. My dad loved them, too. He was a bit tentative at first about the combination of flavors but he was really happy with how they turned out. I also thought they were fantastic. I love the fall flavors, even in the Spring.
The only naysayer was Jonathan’s mom. She thought they were too heavy.