Treat of the Week: Cheesecake Cupcakes with Apricot Glaze

There are no original ideas. Well, there might be a couple… but not many.  Someone once told me that and the more I looked around at “new” stuff I realized there was a surprising amount of evidence to support his theory.  The truth is every artist, photographer, writer, chef, scientist, musician etc. is inspired by someone.  While we, for the most part, try to put our own unique spin on an existing idea, the foundation for our creations come from an idea or ideas that came before us.  The magic happens when you interpret those ideas in a way that others have not yet seen. 

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Over the past few years we have shared loads of recipes here.  Many were new takes on existing recipes and some were (as far as I can tell) completely original.  That is NOT the case with today’s Treat of the Week.  Today our recipe came directly from a book.  I loved it so much and for SO many reasons that I thought it was worth sharing.

On inspiration…

I often get feedback about photographs on this site.  I decided to use this post to let you in on a little secret.  Sometimes people cheat.  I guess some might say that, but it’s all about perspective.  The  very best advice I can give to anyone about learning to take better photos is to find a photo or photographer that inspires you and try to re-create what they’ve done.  Consider the lighting, the angles, the color, etc.  Of course, you may need a bit of technical know-how, but the web is full of people who are willing to help (including me). 

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The photo above is inspired by (and very VERY similar) to the one from the recipe book where I found today’s recipe.  I loved the stark contrast of the caramel-y colors against the all-white background so much that I wanted to experiment with it myself.  From there, I used the inspiration to create a few more shots that complete the story.  You can see the original recipe in the book Cupcakes by Pamela Clark and photographer Joshua Dasey.

Before you start:

I made very few changes to this recipe, but I will add this… it is incredibly easy because the entire cupcake recipe can be made right in the food processor.  Just one food processor, one rubber spatula, and a muffin tin.  It’s that easy.

Start with eggs and cream cheese at room temperature for best results.

I upped the jam a bit from the original recipe to make sure there was enough for all of the cupcakes.  I also decreased the brandy just a bit to get the flavor, but keep the jam thick enough to stay put.

Cheesecake cupcakes

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The ingredients:

For the cheesecakes:

  • 3.5 oz. vanilla wafers 
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2- 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 eggs

For the apricot glaze:

  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons brandy

The method:

  1. Preheat oven to 275˚.  Line a standard muffin tin with cupcake papers.
  2. Place wafers in a food processor.  Pulse a few times to get coarsely ground results.
  3. Pour melted butter over the wafer crumbs and continue pulsing until more finely ground and butter is evenly distributed.
  4. Divide the crumb mixture evenly over the 12 cupcake papers (about a rounded tablespoon for each).
  5. Shake the pan back and forth to make the crumbs close to level.  Use the bottom of a glass that fits well into the muffin tin to press the crumbs firmly to the bottom of each cupcake paper.
  6. Refrigerate muffin tin with crumbs for 30 minutes.
  7. Wipe the remaining crumbs from the food processor and add the cream cheese, lemon zest, and sugar.  Blend until smooth.
  8. Add the eggs and blend again until fully incorporated and smooth.
  9. Fill the cupcake papers about ¾ full.  Bake for 30-33 minutes.  Cool completely.
  10. Make the glaze by placing the jam and brandy in a small saucepan.
  11. Whisk to mix in brandy completely and cook over low heat for 10-12 minutes.  Strain out any remaining large chunks or smooth mixture with an immersion blender.
  12. Cool slightly and then pour over cooled cupcakes.
  13. Cool cupcakes in refrigerator for at least two hours or until glaze is set before serving.  

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