Saturday, September 11, 2010

Caramel Apple Cupcakes


As much as I hate to admit it, summer is coming to a close. Some might say it's over. I say, "Shut up" because even though I do love fall, it's far, far too short. And then it's winter. But I'm going to go all Scarlett O'Hara and not think about that right now. Let's focus on the joy that is fall.

Cooler temps, no more A/C, windows open, and fall flavors. They are my favorites. Warm, spicy, inviting. So with that in mind, I did some baking last weekend and had some leftover cinnamon cream cheese buttercream frosting. What's a girl to do? Make caramel apple cupcakes, of course.

Caramels-apple preserves


While these were very good — I had some really nice complements from my co-workers — I will be tweaking the recipe, mostly having to do with the caramel. I used Werther's soft caramels, and while they melted nicely in the oven, they set back up once cooled creating a much more solid caramel experience that I would have liked. Even so, they were super tasty, so here's the recipe.


Yellow Cake
This is basically 1-2-3-4 cake cut in half. I didn't have lots of frosting left over 
and didn't need a ton of cupcakes just lying around.

1 stick (1/2 cup/4 oz) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Apple preserves

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with liners.
2. In separate bowl, whisk flour and baking powder together.
3. In large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. This will take a few minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating for at least 1 minute between, scraping bowl before adding each egg. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
5. Add milk and beat well. Ditto for the flour. Beat until light and fluffy.
6. Scoop into prepared cupcake tins, filling 2/3 to 3/4 full.
7. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of preserves in the center of each cupcake. Place 1 caramel on top of the preserves pressing lightly to flatten the batter slightly.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until tops are lightly brown.
9. Cool in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
This recipe made enough to generously frost approx 24 cupcakes. If you find yourself with leftovers, I was thinking it would be amazing on cinnamon rolls or pancakes.

4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (4 oz) butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Penzey’s Cake Spice (or just add more cinnamon)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Beat butter thoroughly until smooth. Scrape bowl and add 1 cup sugar beating thoroughly. Add vanilla; beat. Add remaining 2 more cups sugar and mix until combined. Add cream and beat on high until light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes and you’ll need to scrape the bowl a few times during the process. If the mix seems too thin, add more sugar a little at a time until it reaches piping consistency. If it’s too thick, add more cream (or milk).

Printable recipe here.


  1. I love this cupcake above, I had the same issue when I made a batch last year, the caramel setting too hard. I am working on that one as well. I love the idea of using an apple preserve, very clever. I'm a new follower to your blog and I just love it! Would love to have you stop by mine when you have a chance
    Cheers, R

  2. these are utterly fantastic, from the ingenious plop of caramel to the scrumptious, absolutely unbeatable frosting--bravo!

  3. These sound fantastic! I am hoping that Fall comes here sooner rather than later. Living in a city where Summer exists for 8 months and Fall only exists for a whopping 3 weeks... I'm ready for that summer to be over ;)

  4. These were fabulous!!! I needed a treat for a fall party, and thanks to your recipe, everyone thinks I'm a MUCH better cupcake maker than I am! I read about your caramel issue..I used the creamy caramel apple dip. I was afraid it would melt into the cupcake but it worked perfectly...and stayed soft and creamy in the finished cupcake. I also used the fat-free caramel so I could pretend it wasn't as decadent of a treat.

  5. Anonymous - I'm SO glad you made them and reported back. I love hearing from readers that have made recipes I've posted. GREAT to know about the caramel dip - perfect solution! Thanks for stopping by!


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