These caramel apple cupcakes are made from scratch and are super moist and absolutely delicious! They are topped with a cream cheese frosting and drizzled with caramel.
A co-worker (Lisa) let me borrow her cookbook, The Cupcake Diaries, and I’ve been busy trialing various recipes. I have to admit that I’ve never tried a caramel apple cupcake before, but oh my goodness, this is fantastic! Let me start off by saying that this cupcake is so moist and delicious. This cupcake reminds me a bit of a muffin as far as texture. You can taste the bits of apple included in the recipe and it could easily be eaten without the frosting and still get an A+ in my book.
What makes these cupcakes even more phenomenal is the layer of caramel sauce added into the center of the cupcake, as well as drizzled on top of the frosting. This cookbook included a recipe for making homemade caramel sauce, but I didn’t have much success with it. Their method recommends cooking granulated sugar in a saucepan until it liquifies and then adding butter, etc. I spent a good ten minutes stirring that sugar constantly and 1) still managed to burn the sugar, and 2) the sugar never liquified.
When it comes to cooking and baking, I like simple and easy. I had much more success using Ree Drummond’s recipe for homemade caramel sauce. With just a few ingredients (brown sugar, butter, vanilla, heavy whipping cream) you can have caramel sauce made within minutes.
I learned a couple things from reading The Cupcake Diaries. The sisters of Georgetown Cupcakes like to sift their flour. I don’t usually sift my flour when making my cupcakes, but what the heck, it only takes a minute and if it’s going to give the cupcake a lighter texture, I’m all for it. Another thing I learned is don’t refrigerate your cupcakes as it will dry them out. If you want to keep your cupcakes for a longer period, simply freeze them and then bring them back to room temperature. They will taste just as fresh as when you made them.
So, the first step is to sift flour into a medium sized bowl or onto waxed paper and then measure out the required amount needed for the recipe (If you measure out the amount and then sift, you’ll end up with too much flour for the recipe). Add the measured, sifted flour, along with the other dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and then set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the unsalted butter and sugar and blend with an electric mixer on medium speed for at least 3 to 5 minutes.
Add in eggs, one at a time and continue to blend on medium speed until well-blended,
Alternate adding portion of dry ingredients with hot water and blend on low speed until ingredients are combined. Batter will be somewhat thick at this time.
Fold in grated apples to batter with spatula.
Use large sized cookie scoop to fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 16 – 19 minutes (start checking at 15 minute mark) or until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack for three minutes and then transfer cupcakes to another wire rack to finish cooling.
While you are waiting for cupcakes to cool, you can make up the caramel sauce and the frosting. For the caramel sauce you can check out Ree Drummond’s recipe for caramel sauce .
I used a small paring knife to cut out the center of the cupcake and then added the caramel sauce.
To make the cream cheese frosting: combine the softened cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in large bowl and blend with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. I used a Wilton 1M tip with a disposal frosting bag to decorate these cupcakes. The last step is to drizzle caramel sauce over frosting.
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
These caramel apple cupcakes are made from scratch and are super moist and absolutely delicious! Topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting and drizzled with caramel sauce.
For the cupcakes:
- 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs, room temp
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 2 1/2 cups apples, grated
For the caramel sauce:
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup half & half or heavy whipping cream
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. In medium sized bowl, add in measured sifted flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir until combined and then set aside.
3. In large bowl, add in unsalted butter and sugar and blend with electric mixer on medium speed for at least 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and fluffy.
4. Add in eggs, one at a time, blending on medium speed.
5. Alternate adding in dry ingredients and hot water, blending on low speed until ingredients are combined. (Do not overmix)
6. Fold in grated apples to batter. Scoop batter into cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 16 to 19 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
8. Remove to wire rack to cool for about 3 minutes and then remove cupcakes from pan to continue cooling on wire rack.
For the caramel sauce:
1. In medium sized saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, heavy whipping cream and salt together.
2. Continue stirring over medium to low heat until boiling. Continue stirring for an additional 1 - 2 minutes until sauce thickens.
3. Remove from heat and add in vanilla extract and stir until combined.
For the cream cheese frosting:
1. In large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and butter along with the vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
2. Blend with electric mixer on medium speed for approx. 3 minutes or until ingredients are smooth and creamy.
Store cupcakes at room temperature in airtight container.
Recipe adapted from The Cupcake Diaries