Cupcake reincarnations: The Tree of Knowledge

For the chief of our unit during my tenure as Senior resident, I made the tree of knowledge cupcake, complete with references to her teaching us so much, the ridiculously wide array of things she knows, and an interest in Jewish history and culture. This was a delicious buckwheat coffee cake with lots of apples, but since the Talmud says that the true fruit of the tree of knowledge might have been figs (because it’s the middle east), wheat (man learning to farm) or wine (obviously introduces us to new experiences we might regret), I incorporated all of those ingredients too… and to represent the good and evil in the story, a sweet and salty topping. This was one of my favorite tasting cupcakes I’ve ever made.

.tree of knowledge cupcakes


  • 2 cups buckwheat flour 
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup veg oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 golden delicious apples, diced
Dry ingredients together, wet ingredients together, mix all together, then add apple cubes and bake.
  • 1 small box figs (1-2 cups), sliced thinly
  • 3 TB sherry
  • 1 TB butter
  • 4 TB brown sugar
Simmered together until thick and then chilled to form jelly. Stuffed into the cupcakes when all cooled.
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1-2 tsp salt

Boil the milk in the can submerged in water for 3 hours over medium heat, then allow to cool. Add half the contents to 2 sticks of butter and the salt and whip together. Good and evil topping!


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