To continue with our fair food theme for this week, there really is no better choice than a delicious Caramel Apple! The perfect treat at the State Fair or for Halloween… these Caramel Apple Cupcakes make a great alternative for those of us who love the fair (and a lot less messy)! Plus, I can never get enough Caramel, especially sea salt caramel. It’s ooey gooey goodness that I would drink if that was an acceptable diet! 🙂
I love the adventure of trying a new recipe. Not being sure how it will work out, whether everyone will like it and whether I’ll be happy with the final product… it’s a little bit of a thrill watching someone bite into your cupcake and seeing their face light up with delight! Of course, it’s a little nerve racking when you try something new. Sometimes the recipe isn’t perfect, the cupcake isn’t moist or the flavor is just not quite right. Regardless, I love the challenge and this cupcake was no exception. I was a little nervous chopping up apples into a cupcake, wondering if the texture would be odd, but they really do taste incredible! All this to say, I try to be adventurous with my recipes and I can promise everything you see on my blog will be tried and true (and absolutely delicious)!
After trying this recipe, if you are as big of a fan of the Salted Caramel Buttercream as I am, check back soon for my absolute favorite Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cupcake recipe… it is sooo amazingly good!!
Spiced Apple Cupcakes
From Taste and Tell
Makes 12 cupcakes
- 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 7/8 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 3oz milk
- 1 cups chopped tart apples
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the 1/4c butter until smooth. Add in the 1/2c sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the 1 egg and mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- In a bowl, combine the 7/8c flour, 3/8t baking powder, 1/4t salt, 1/4t allspice, 1/4t cinnamon, 1/4t nutmeg, 1/8t baking soda and 1/8t cloves.
- Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until combined. Add half of the 3oz milk, mix, then ½ of the remaining flour, the remaining milk and then the remaining flour, beating in-between additions. Stir in the chopped apples.
- Divide the mixture between the prepared cups, filling each about ⅔ Bake until the center springs back when touched, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Either prepare the cupcakes to frost or freeze the cupcakes until 24 hours before your event (recommended). Wrap cupcakes in seran wrap and then aluminum foil in the cupcake pan for best result.
Sea Salt Caramel Frosting & Caramel Filling
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 Tablespoons water
- 4 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1 cup cream
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2lb powdered sugar
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- Add the 8T water, 4t corn syrup, and the 1c granulated sugar together in a very small saucepan (I used a metal saucepan the first time but tried ceramic the second and the ceramic worked better) – DO NOT STIR. Adding the corn syrup to the mix, even in such a small quantity, really makes this a pretty foolproof recipe.
- Bring the water and sugar mixture to a boil over medium heat, but still DO NOT STIR. Stirring also encourages crystallization. Cook until the water and sugar mixture caramelizes into the beautiful golden brown color in the photo just above. Do not wait for the mixture to get too dark or it will burn. It happens quickly once the sugar starts browning, so don’t walk away from the stove during this step!
- Remove the caramelized sugar syrup from heat, and mix in the 1c cream. It mixes in more easily if the cream is at room temperature, but it can still work if you have cold cream–you just have to do it slowly, at least at first. Pour in just a tiny bit of the cream, a couple teaspoons worth, and mix that. Add just a splash more, mix that in. Our goal is to lower the temperature of the caramel, so that it doesn’t get a big cold shock when you pour in the cream and just sieze up. Continue mixing in the cream a bit by a bit, but you can start adding more and more as you go along.
- Mix in the 2t salt and the 2t vinegar. The acid is another optional ingredient–the caramel doesn’t need it in a chemical sense–but it does brighten the flavor and make it taste even more amazing. Stir to combine.
- Set the caramel aside to cool completely before moving on to making the icing. I’m not joking. COMPLETELY. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a soupy, melted buttery mess. Which, while I’m sure would be delicious, would not be particularly useful in spreading on cakes or cupcakes.
- Note: this caramel sauce also makes an awesome ice cream topping at this stage!
- Once the caramel sauce is completely cool, split the recipe in half (about 2/3 cup). Take ½ the caramel sauce and combine with the 1c (2 sticks) softened butter in a stand mixer.
- Add 2lbs powdered sugar ½ cup or so at a time, allowing it to combine between additions. Add 1t vanilla and continue mixing.
- Beat until a smooth, glorious buttercream icing. If the icing is too stiff, add just a bit of milk, cream, or water (just a bit at a time) until the icing is the perfect consistency for your needs.
- The rest of the caramel sauce you will use to fill the cupcakes. Fill a squeeze bottle with the caramel sauce and press into cupcake, squeeze and pull the bottle up from the cupcake until you reach the top.
- Frost cupcakes and enjoy!
So hopefully you have a fair where you live to enjoy this October, but if not, these cupcakes will help you enjoy the season anyway!