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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

So I went apple picking Saturday morning with my daughter. For being 2, she had a blast and did all the apple picking for me! I was able to fill my bag full of delicious Melrose and Suncrisp apples. Obviously my first instinct was to find a way to incorporate the apples into a cupcake without turning it into a muffin. So I went scouring the net. I found 2 awesome recipes – one for apple pie filling and one for a caramel buttercream frosting. I then adapted a favorite doctored cake mix for the base (from I came up with a caramel cupcake, filled with apple pie filling and topped with a caramel buttercream and a half caramel for garnish. One some of the cupcakes, I also drizzled some caramel sauce for added flavor.

I made the apple pie filling first, then the cupcake batter and worked on the frosting once the cupcakes were out of the oven and cooling.

Apple Pie Filling

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large (or 4 medium) apples – I used Melrose – peeled, cored and finely diced
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water


Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sized saucepan. Add the sugars, apples and apple pie spice. Cook for about 10 minutes until the apples release their juices. Combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl and add to the apples, stirring until the mixture thickens. Allow to cool.

For the cupcakes:

1 (18.25 ounce) package Duncan Hines Caramel Cake Mix (I found this at Meijer! I suppose you can also use Spice Cake Mix if you cannot find the caramel)
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water (you can also use 1/2 cup of apple juice)
1/4 teaspoon of apple pie spice


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla, water and apple pie spice. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.
3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
5. Remove cupcakes. Once cupcakes and apple pie filling are both cool, use a paring knife or an apple core to cut a hole in the middle of the cupcake – fill with about a teaspoon or so of the apple pie filling.

The Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups + 4 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4-5 cups powdered sugar (I used about 5 cups to get a thicker consistency for piping the frosting.)

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the brown sugar and bring to a boil (stir often). Stire in the baking soda, corn syrup and milk and then bring to a boil again. Once it’s boiling, remove from heat and cool completely (I placed it in the fridge for about an hour). Add mixture to a mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar and beat until you reach the consistency you want. Add the frosting to a piping bag and frost the cupcakes. You can drizzle caramel sauce on top. I also added half a caramel for garnish.


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