Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One Green Apple Cupcakes

Every children's literature enthusiast is familiar with Eve Bunting, and with good reason.  All told, she has written over 250 books!  Most of the titles are for children and teens, and while I haven't read every one of them, I do enjoy the ones I have read, which cover many various topics, from homelessness to a moose's Thanksgiving table.

One Green Apple was published in 2006, and is one of Bunting's more serious books.  Ted Lewin's illustrations really capture the emotions of the children in beautiful, realistic watercolor, and help to set the tone for the tale.  It tells the story of Farah, who is not only new in her school but new to the country, and doesn't yet speak a word of English.  Worse yet, Farah is the only one in the school wearing a dupatta (her head scarf) - everything is different, and she can't even explain that to anybody.  She wants to say, "it is not that I am stupid.  It is just that I am lost in this new place," but she doesn't have the words.

On Farah's second day, her class takes a field trip to a local apple orchard.  A classmate introduces herself, but Farah is still nervous and uncomfortable.  In the orchard, each student is allowed to pick one apple, which will all be blended together to make apple cider.  Farah sees a smaller tree with little green apples - "it is small and alone, like me" - and picks one.

After a while, Farah notices that there are some things that are the same in any language - like laughter.  She gets up the courage to join the other children in pressing the cider, and, eventually, to try her first word in English.

This book is a wonderful story for both those who are new and feel isolated, and for those who may be hesitant to welcome someone who is different.  It's also a good fall story - who doesn't like cider?  And what's my favorite thing to do with cider?  Bake with it!  (Actually, I prefer to just drink it, but baking with it turned out to be a very good thing.)

One Green Apple Cupcakes
For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350.  Put cupcake liners into muffin tins - this recipe made me 28 cupcakes.  You could do a combination of cupcakes and regular cakes, or one bundt pan, or whatever you like.  If you use a non-cupcake pan, grease and flour it.
2) In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3) Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well, and pour into prepared pans.
4) Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  This took 25 minutes for my cupcakes.
5) Cool completely, and frost with apple cider buttercream (below).

Apple Cider Buttercream
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup apple cider
3-4 cups confectioner's sugar

1) Cream the butter and apple cider until well-blended, and then add in 3 cups confectioner's sugar until fully combined. Add additional sugar slowly, until the desired consistency.

I got the recipe for the applesauce cake here, at the allrecipes.com website.  The apple cider buttercream was found here, on the TLC website.  They came out rather well, if I say so myself - I sold most of them for a bake sale to fund the American Cancer Society.

Question of the day:
What's your favorite Fall book?

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