Saturday, March 31, 2012

Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

I'm just going to tell you this now - I keep this journal of recipes and ideas that I want to try some day. Have I already told you that? If I have, oh well. You get to hear it again. If not, well, now you know. It's nothing fancy and kind of reminds me of my college notebooks, but boy is it filling up quick. Darn you Food Network and Food & Wine magazine! One of them being this cupcake - caramel apple pie cupcakes. How good does that sound? I love apple pie. I love caramel. I love cupcakes. Why not put the three together. Makes perfect sense if you ask me. I wasn't quite sure of how I would combine all three flavors into the perfect cupcake, but I knew it would come to me eventually. I decided to let the creative juices flow and give this recipe a try for a get together with Ryan's soccer team after their game last Friday. Ryan thought these might be a little to fancy (I think his exact words were frou frou) for his sweaty soccer team, but I didn't listen to him. Do I ever? Just kidding. Well, kind of. I promise I listen to you dear! I really wanted to try these out and I knew he and his soccer team would love them.

Since these cupcakes were part of my baking extravaganza last week, I decided to make these in two stages. The apple pie filling and caramel for the buttercream the night before and then the cupcakes and the rest of the frosting the next day. You don't have to do this of course, but if you have the time, I say, do it. That way you can let the filling and caramel cool over night and you don't have to do everything in one day. That's just my two cents though. Take it with a grain of salt.  The filling and caramel are super easy to make and take ten minutes each. The filling is simply diced apples, cinnamon, sugar, a little butter. Cook until tender, not mushy! The caramel is pretty much the same caramel (the proportions are just a bit different) than the caramel I made for my baileys cheesecake tart, but of course without the booze. Although, now that I think about it, whiskey may go with caramel apple pie. Hmmm, that may be an experiment for another day. Now, if you don't want to make your own caramel for the frosting, you can buy it at the grocery store, but let me just say, don't buy it. Make it. It's so easy and once you start making it, you'll wonder why you never did in the first place. Just listen to me, okay? Is that too bossy? Sorry. I told you I could get that way.

Now comes the best part - deciding what cupcake to be the base for this deliciousness. In my cooking journal, the first few cupcakes that came to mind were vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon. Those all sounded good and then, it came to me. Snickerdoodle! It's cinnamon-y, it's sugary, it's snickerdool-y. Oh man, I wish I had one of these cupcakes now. Snickerdoodle cupcake filled with apple pie filling and topped with a salted caramel buttercream frosting. OMG GET IN MY BELLY. Needless to say, the soccer team loved them (some of them even had two!), my co-workers loved them (I brought them a few extras to sample when I delivered a cake order last week), and so did I. I'm pretty sure Ryan did too, seeing as he had two. Who has two of the same cupcake if they don't like them, right? Right! This cupcake will definitely be one of my signature flavors someday. Now what are you waiting for - go and try this one. I still see you drooling. Ya, you!

I'm going to break this down into three steps - filling, caramel, cupcakes. Here we go!

I used granny smith to balance out the sweetness of the rest of the cupcake, but use what apples you like (or have on hand).

butter and sugar and cinnamon. mmm.

adding in the cornstarch solution to the cooked apples

Apple Pie Filling  (

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 apples, diced small
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, sugars, lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook until apples are tender and release their juices – about 10 minutes. In a small bowl or glass, combine cornstarch and water. Add to apples and stir, cooking until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. (Cover and refrigerate overnight if making ahead.)

boiling water and caramel. DO NOT touch this. You will burn yourself. And no, I did not burn myself.

finished caramel. don't worry if the cream makes the caramel hard. just keep whisking. you'll be fine.

pouring the cooled caramel into the whipped butter and sugar

look at all that frosting! I wonder what I was watching on tv...

Salted Caramel Buttercream (

1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla
3 sticks salted butter, softened
pinch of sea salt (optional)
4 cups powdered sugar

Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla (just start with a tablespoon or two), stirring with a whisk until completely smooth. (Be careful, as the mixture will definitely bubble up and possibly splatter a bit as you add in the cream.)  Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes. If making in advance, cool to room temperature and then cover and place in fridge.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.  Turn off the mixer, and then add caramel. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes.

the line up. I have no idea why I have three brown eggs and one white one.

creaming the butter and sugar (my favorite part)

look at that cinnamon!



filled with the apple pie filling
frosted and topped with clear sprinkles and dried apple slices. YUM.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes (

Makes 24 cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cups whole milk 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with paper liners. Mix together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes and frosting. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

You can always switch up the flavor combination with this one too - say, add chopped apples to the cupcake and simply top with the frosting. Or, if you really wanted to get fancy, you could do an apple cupcake, with a caramel filling and a cinnamon buttercream. Ooh, I might just have to try that one. There goes another recipe to add to the cooking journal!

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