Last fall I really wanted to make caramel apple cupcakes, but time just got away from me and seemingly all of a sudden, fall was over and I still hadn’t made my cupcakes. So I put caramel apple cupcakes on my things-to-make-soon list and hoped I’d have better luck next year. Well, next year is here and I’ve finally made my cupcakes! =) There are several different versions of caramel apple cupcakes floating around but none of them really fulfilled everything I wanted from my cupcakes. I finally settled on a cinnamon cupcake, with apple filling, and caramel frosting. The apple filling is almost identical to the one I made for my White Cupcakes with Apple Filling and Maple Frosting. The cinnamon cupcakes have the perfect hint of cinnamon, without overpowering the caramel or the apples. And the caramel frosting, well, it has a ton of delicious caramel sauce in it – do I really need to say more?? Okay, good. =) Jordan took these cupcakes to work and they were a hit. A delicious cupcake for fall…or for any season really! Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes 
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Add milk mixture and vanilla, and beat until blended.
4. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full (I used a #20 scoop*). Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 36 cupcakes.
Note: These cupcakes are not high-rising cupcakes. I used a #20 scoop and the cupcakes rose just to the top of the cupcake liners. If you want larger cupcakes, you could use a #16 scoop.
*adapted from The Craving Chronicles, originally from Annie’s Eats

Caramel Frosting
3/4 cup vegetable shortening*
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup good-quality caramel sauce*
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp caramel extract
1/2 tsp butter extract (optional)
1-2 tbsp heavy cream

1. Combine shortening and butter in bowl of stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy – about a minute. Gradually beat in powdered sugar.
2. Add caramel sauce, vanilla bean paste, caramel extract, and butter extract and beat on medium speed about a minute more.
3. Add heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
1. This makes a lot of frosting. I piped a generous amount onto each of the cupcakes. If you are spreading the frosting on with a knife, you could probably half the recipe.
2. Good-quality caramel sauce is thick. If your caramel sauce is the thin, cheap stuff, your frosting will be thinner and have less caramel flavor.
3. If you want to substitute butter for the shortening, you will need to reduce the amount of caramel sauce.

Apple Filling
6 small/medium granny smith apples
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
1 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until apples are tender and release their juices – about 10 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Add to apples and stir, cooking until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
*adapted from The Craving Chronicles

To Assemble:
1. Using a small paring knife or apple corer, take a small piece/cone out of each cupcake.
2. Fill each hole with about a teaspoon of the apple filling. Replace cupcake tops.
3. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake.
Drizzle with more caramel if desired.

Categories: Cupcakes

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