When the weekend comes around all I want to do is lounge and be in the kitchen. I wish I had an endless money supply so I could test out as many new recipes as possible. Hey, a girl can dream. Last weekend I had to use up the rest of my apples I had picked up at the farm, so i decided to test out these caramel apple cupcakes. To be honest they were not my favorite. The icing was very sweet from the caramel and the cake was more muffin-like than cake-like. So what do I do with baked goods that go awry? Feed them to my students. They are always willing to be my taste testers. What happened last year when I made cookies that came out hard as a rock? Gave them to my kids. They told me they were gross, yet they continued to eat them. But surprisingly with these cupcakes my 2nd period class LOVED them. Probably because they got a boat load of sugar at 9am. They were begging me for more, especially the boys. So if you love sweet or you have 16 year old boys, go ahead and give these a shot!
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
adapted from the Chic Table
Makes 12 cupcakes; Prep Time 30 min; Bake Time 16-20 min
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups diced Winesap apples, peeled
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Caramel: (double recipe if you want extra to drizzle on top of cupcakes)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, heated
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup thick caramel (recipe for homemade above, but to save time you could use store bought)
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl beat oil and brown sugar with a hand mixer (or a KitchenAid if you are lucky enough to have one!). Once combined add in egg and vanilla until mixed thoroughly. Alternate adding dry ingredients and butter milk. Add 1/3 of dry ingredients then 1/2 of the butter milk. Repeat until all ingredients are combined. Fold in diced apples. Add liners to a cupcake pan and fill each to the top with batter.
Pop in the oven for 16-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
While cupcakes are in the oven and cooling make the caramel. This was my first time making caramel from scratch and I was nervous. I found it was actually quite simple and the taste is WAY better than store bought. Plus, you avoid all of those nasty preservatives. If you have the time I would highly recommend making your own.
In a small sauce pot add sugar and water. Stir. Place over high heat until sugar begins to melt, then lower heat to medium. While sugar is melting do not stir. Watch carefully so the sugar does not burn. Heat until sugar is light brown and you begin to smell it.
Heat cream in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. Make sure to leave plenty of room in container because cream will rise while heating. Remove sugar from heat and let sit for about 15 seconds. Pour 1/3 of hot cream into the sugar. Be very cautious. The sugar will steam and bubble. Whisk well until combined. Slowly continue to add the rest of the cream. Then add in butter and whisk. Let caramel sit at room temperature until completely cooled and thickened.
Now begin on the frosting. Cream together cream cheese, butter and salt until well combined. Add in 1/2 a cup of caramel (do not heat it up). Mix until combined. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time until desired thickness.
Once cupcakes are completely cooled go ahead and frost however you would like. Then drizzle leftover caramel across the top!