Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Brie Cream Cheese Frosting

From 6 Bittersweets
Adapted from Sunset Magazine
Makes 12 to 15 cupcakes

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I found that I could grate the apples with the skin on using my box grater. The McIntosh apples I used became quite juicy and mushy when I grated them, so I drained off some of the excess juice before using.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate, defrosted (optional, increase oil to 1/2 cup if not using)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 generous cup packed coarsely grated tart apples (about 2 medium-large)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
Brie and Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners and set aside. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices, pepper, and salt together into a large bowl. Whisk to ensure they are combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the oil, apple juice concentrate, vanilla, and eggs. Add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until almost combined. Stir the apples and walnuts into the batter.

Divide batter among cupcake liners and bake until a toothpick or thin knife inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out mostly clean, about 16 to 20 minutes. Let cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer them to wire racks and let cool completely before frosting. Frost cupcakes as desired.

Brie and Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces (1 cup) cream cheese (low-fat is fine), cool room temperature
4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) brie, softened and with rind removed
1/4 cup (2 ounces or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered (confectioner's) sugar

In a large bowl beat the brie, cream cheese, and butter until softened and smooth (but do not overbeat). On low speed beat in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Start with 1 1/2 cups of sugar and add more to achieve desired sweetness and stiffness. Finally, beat on high speed for a few moments until smooth.