Saturday, October 23, 2010

What's Baking: Caramel Apple Cupcakes

So, I joined a baking challenge! It's called What's Baking?, and it's made up of bakers from the What's Cooking board on the Nest. October's theme was fall-themed cupcakes, which I thought was an excellent idea! I needed to bake cupcakes anyways for birthday celebrations at my dance studio, so I just needed to make sure they were fall-themed.

Now, what I'm about to say might not go over so well. I'm just warning you. As much as I like pumpkin, I kind of wanted a change from all the pumpkin treats I've been making. There, I said it. Growing up in Western NY, one of my favorite things about fall was going apple-picking, and I LOVE apples! I hadn't done any baking with apples this fall, so I thought apple cupcakes would fit the What's Baking theme well. And then I saw these. Caramel apple cupcakes. Yummmmm!

I must admit, I was skeptical about the cake portion, since they were a Rachel Ray recipe, and she is constantly joking about her inability to bake on 30 Minute Meals, but one of her testers must have developed these, because they were great! Light and fluffy, with great flavor! The cupcakes were a huge hit with kids and adults alike. I got 18 out of this recipe.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes (from Chi-Town Cooking Creations)


  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. canola oil
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 apples, peeled and shredded (a tart variety, like Granny Apple, would be best)

Sift together the first 4 ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract, then whisk in the oil. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until just combined. Stir in the shredded apples.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill greased muffin pans with the cupcake batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 14 Tbl. heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts and begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients until smooth. Cool completely.

Caramel Buttercream

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/3 c. caramel sauce (see recipe above)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbl. heavy cream
  • 2-4 c. powdered sugar
Cream the butter until smooth. Mix in the caramel sauce (hint: spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring out the caramel so that it will come out easier). Mix in 1 c. powdered sugar. Mix in the vanilla extract and heavy cream. Add an additional 1 c. powdered sugar, or until the consistency is correct. I actually had to add some additional cream because my caramel was cold and the frosting was very stiff.

To assemble:

Using a paring knife, cut a plug about 1" in diameter out from the top of each cupcake. You want it to be about 1" deep, too, so that it doesn't go all the way through to the bottom of the cupcake. Use the remaining caramel sauce to fill each cavity. Frost with the caramel buttercream.

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