The “Poisoned” apple is best known from the story Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Originally a Brothers Grimm fairy tale (called Schneewittchen) with origins in German storytelling, Snow White has now became synonymous with Disney. In the Disney movie, the poisoned apple makes its appearance when:
the Evil Queen declares that Snow White should suffer “a special sort of death”. Looking through her spellbook, she comes to the recipe for the Sleeping Death, and, reading of the poisoned apple’s effects, decides that it’s the perfect way to get rid of her. She brews the potion in her cauldron and dips an ordinary apple into it as the Raven watches silently. The Sleeping Death seeps into the apple, and the Witch raises it from the cauldron to reveal that the poison dripping from it has formed an image of a skull. The image fades as the apple turns from black to red, to tempt Snow White. The Witch cruelly offers it to the Raven, who backs away, terrified, causing her to cackle maliciously. She suddenly remembers that there may be an antidote to the Sleeping Death and searches through the spellbook, believing that “nothing must be overlooked”. She soon discovers that the only cure is love’s first kiss. Regardless, the Witch laughs it off, confident that the dwarfs will think Snow White is dead and they’ll bury her alive and thus making her unable to receive a kiss. She puts the apple in a basket, and walks down through the dungeon below, emerging from the castle’s catacombs in a raft. As she makes her way to the dwarfs’ cottage, two sinister vultures see her, and sensing that her death is imminent, quietly pursue her. She reaches the cottage and, according to plan, finds that the dwarfs have left and Snow White is alone. Catching her by surprise as she is preparing food, the Witch offers her the apple, but is attacked by the forest animals (who sense danger when they notice the two vultures). Snow White does not recognize any danger in the old woman, unaware that she is actually the evil queen in disguise, and lets her into the house to offer her a drink of water, while the animals rush off to find the dwarfs. The Witch tells Snow White that the apple is a magic one that can grant wishes, and knowing of her romance with the Prince, persuades her to wish for a happy reunion before taking a bite. After some moaning, her body slumps to the floor as she falls into a coma induced by the Sleeping Death. The Witch’s supposed victory is cut short when she is discovered by the dwarfs, who, led by Grumpyhaving been alerted by the forest animals to her presence, pursue her until she is cornered at the edge of a cliff, where she apparently falls to her doom, with her body believed to have been eaten by the vultures. It is unknown what happened to the apple, but it the dwarfs probably burned it. Though Snow White appears to be dead, the dwarfs can’t bear to bury her, instead forging her a coffin made of glass and gold. The Prince hears of her current state, comes to the clearing where her coffin is placed, revives her with a kiss, and reverses the effects of the poison.
For Halloween, I thought making some poison apple cupcakes would be cute. I didn’t want them to be too overly “Halloween”-y, so I just added some vintage toppers that reminded me of the skull that formed on the poisoned apple in the Disney film. Two cupcake recipes in a week! Imagine that.
These are essentially just apple pie-topped cupcakes. They’re vanilla cake with a little teeny bit of cinnamon, topped with vanilla buttercream and then a spicy, chunky little apple pie topping. No real poison involved. I promise.
Although you could add a little bit of bourbon to the apples for extra bite.
POISON APPLE CUPCAKES (AKA APPLE PIE CUPCAKES)
Makes about 12 cupcakes
- 3/4 cups self-rising flour
- 10 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup milk (added as needed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Apple pie topping:
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 3 cups peeled and chopped apples
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup water plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350° degrees.
Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake papers. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the “poison apple” topping: heat the butter in a medium-large skillet. Stir in the apples, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Heat until the fruit begins to release its juices. Add 3/4 cup of water to the pan and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Cook until the apples are just fork tender but not mushy. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch, and whisk lightly until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples and cook 1-2 minutes more, until the mixture has thickened. Let cool thoroughly before topping the cupcakes.
Make the frosting while the apple topping cools: place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. Pipe buttercream in a “circle” around the top of the cupcake, allowing room in the middle for the apple filling. Spoon the cooled apples into the empty part. Decorate further as desired.
These are also really nice to make for Thanksgiving, or just for fall. Take out the “poisoned apple” element and you’ve got just a really delicious little apple pie cupcake. Maybe use some apple toppers instead of skulls.