Oh, I’ve so been chomping at the bit to share these Sugar Shack Maple Cupcakes with you! But I developed the recipe for Middlesex County’s Economic Development department and was waiting for them to publish it first. This recipe is another in my series featuring produce from the county, along with Caramel Apple Crumble Squares and Prime Rib with Piquant Herb Sauce.
To read my original article and get the recipes for the cupcakes and frosting, click here. I purchased the maple products used in this post at Fort Rose Maple Company near Parkhill. Lawrence McLachlan, one of the owners, explained the maple production process to my six-year-old granddaughter and me in the sugar shack, and then he and two other family members, William and Jermey, allowed me to take their photo. One of the things I value about sourcing local produce is that I can talk to the farmers and others who work so hard to bring their products to market.
Maple syrup is a quintessentially Canadian product, and I feel fortunate that there are numerous producers in the area where I live. An annual trip to the sugar bush and sugar shack to see how the syrup is produced is a tradition for many, along with the practically obligatory pancake breakfast. Adjust the belt a notch or two afterwards, and the drive home won’t be uncomfortable at all.
I debated whether to go savoury or sweet to showcase maple syrup, but these cupcakes won out. They’re entirely flavoured with this amber elixir: no extracts, no spices, no nuts … just the distinct and prized flavour of maple that’s the reward for getting through a Canadian winter. I made the cupcakes with both maple sugar and maple syrup, so they’re refined sugar-free. When I visited the Fort Rose shop they were out of granulated maple sugar, but I came up with a MacGyver-worthy workaround: I purchased their hard maple candies and ground them in the food processor to create the sugar needed for the recipe.
The frosting, on the other hand, is another matter. I decided that an American buttercream was the way to go, and while it’s delicious (how could it not be, given that it’s also flavoured with maple syrup?), its heavy reliance on confectioners sugar makes it far too sweet for me (the things I suffer for my readers!). So, I just did a do-over this week, developing a maple Italian meringue frosting, which you could also call a maple marshmallow frosting … hmm, which name to choose? Stay tuned — I’ll post that one soon!
For those of you who like your sweetness completely over the top, feel free to adorn your frosted cupcakes with a plume of maple spun sugar; I purchased mine at Fort Rose Maple Company too. I prefer the cupcakes with just the frosting, but the spun sugar certainly adds flair.
Finally, if you don’t mind my saying so, the photographs to accompany this recipe are among some of my best. But when the subject is maple syrup and cupcakes, how can the photos not be swoonworthy?!