These maple cupcakes have a delicate maple flavour and slightly crispy top. They're delicious on their own; adding the sweet maple frosting takes them to the next level of indulgence!
Fort Rose Maple Company didn't have granulated maple sugar available when I visited, so I purchased some maple leaf-shaped pure maple candy (for the pantry, honest!) and ground it into sugar with a small food processor.
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with 12 large paper baking cups.
Measure the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. Stir and set aside. Using a mixer, beat the butter a few minutes until light. Add the maple sugar and cream on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium-low speed until they're incorporated, scraping the bowl once. The mixture will look somewhat split at this point.
Add half the flour mixture and beat in at low speed, then add half the maple syrup. Repeat. Scrape the bowl and beat on medium speed for about a minute until the batter is smooth. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl and for any final stirring.
Using a small ice cream scoop, portion the batter evening among the 12 muffin cups. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 to 27 minutes, or until the cupcakes are domed and golden. Use a toothpick to test for doneness; it if comes out clean, the cupcakes are ready.
Set the muffin tin on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes from the tin and place them on the rack to finish cooling.
Use a stand or hand mixer to cream the butter. Turn off the mixer and add the icing sugar. Beat on low speed until the butter and sugar start to come together; it will still look pretty dry. Add 4 tablespoons of maple syrup then beat on medium speed until the frosting starts to become creamy. Beat in the rest of the maple syrup a tablespoon at a time as required for the frosting to reach a spreadable but somewhat stiff consistency.
Once the cupcakes are completely cool, spread the frosting on with a knife, and, if you like, embellish it further with a flourish of maple spun sugar. Or, apply the frosting using a piping bag fitted with a large decorative tip. My favourite design is a flat rose, made by starting in the centre and working around to the outside.
The flour, baking powder and icing sugar are measured using the scoop and level method.
I ground 8 maple leaf candies (or, 85 g) to make the maple sugar needed for this recipe.