This is seriously old-school, but anyone who’s tried this traditional “holiday” punch will tell you it tastes like Santa wrestled Sam Adams in an apple pie, which is to say really, really good. You’ll need to make the garnish for this one a day ahead of time.
makes 48 mini cupcakes
*If you do not have a food dehydrator, you can dehydrate the apple slices in the oven on baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 150°F and bake apples for 10–20 hours. Rotate the baking sheets every few hours, front to back, top to bottom, and left to right, to ensure even baking. Or, you know, buy some.
You Will Need
TO MAKE THE CAKE
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line mini cupcake tins with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg, sour cream, and vanilla.
3. In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Set aside.
4. Combine brown ale and butter in a saucepan and heat until butter melts.
5. Remove from heat. While the mixer is running on low, slowly pour the hot ale/butter mixture into the mixing bowl. Beat until incorporated.
6. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until incorporated.
7. Fill cupcake tins two-thirds full.
8. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before filling or frosting.
TO MAKE THE FILLING
1. Whisk Applesauce in a bowl until smooth.
2. Add applejack 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition.
3. Transfer the Applesauce/applejack mixture to a squeeze bottle.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING
1. With an electric mixer, beat butter with the paddle attachment until fluffy.
2. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add confectioners’ sugar until incorporated.
3. Slowly stream in orange juice and beat until smooth and fluffy, with no lumps or air bubbles.
4. Add in cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Beat until incorporated.
5. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag.
TO MAKE THE GARNISH
1. Twelve to twenty-four hours before you are ready to make the garnish, core 3–4 apples. Slice apples in half with the cores vertical. Then slice the halves into 1/4 inch thick slices.
2. Sprinkle the apples with lemon juice to prevent browning, then pat dry with a paper towel or clean dishtowel. Then sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.
3. Place the apple slices 1/2 inch apart in food dehydrator*and dehydrate until done, 12–24 hours, or until the apples are brittle, like chips.
4. Store the apple chips in an airtight container. They will keep for up to 6 months if stored properly.
1. When cupcakes are cool, core each cupcake with a small pastry tip. If you don’t have a pastry tip, poke a hole in the middle of the cupcake with a narrow-bladed knife (a steak knife will do).
2. Fill the cavity with the applejack/apple brandy and Applesauce mixture, taking care not to let it overflow.
3. Frost cupcakes to your liking.
4. Garnish with apple chips.