Rachel Allison’s Fall Foliage Cupcakes

This cupcake is a fusion of the all the best parts of fall. This is the first year I have had a backyard with trees, and I found it comforting to watch the seasons change from my window. The cupcake design is meant to highlight the brilliant colors of the changing foliage and the golden afternoon light.

It was challenging to decide how to arrange the leaves. Initially, I put all the leaves in an identical arrangement, same spacing and angles, but it looked much too stilted. Ultimately, I chose a slightly different leaf arrangement for each cupcake, like the leaves had fluttered haphazardly from the trees. The gold dust on the leaves catches the light differently depending on the angle, giving the impression of movement.

The flavor is inspired by my favorite cool-weather drink, a matcha latte, blending earthy matcha with creamy ganache and buttercream. The cupcake/filling combination also hints of other warm and cozy flavors including ginger, caramel, and toasted nuts.

—By Rachel Allison